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Tuesday 2 September 2014

Adams under pressure as McConville’s daughter says IRA murder should be treated as war crime

Published 08/11/2013 | 16:58

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A DAUGHTER of Jean McConville has called on Gardai to step up their investigation into the murder of her mother after claims on a TV programme that the killing was ordered by Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams.

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Helen McKendry, who was 15 when her mother was abducted and murdered by the IRA in 1972, told Independent.ie she now wants her mother’s murder to be treated by governments north and south as a “war crime”.

 

In the BBC documentary The Disappeared shown on RTE and BBC this week,  Adams’ former IRA comrade Brendan Hughes, now deceased, says in a taped message: “There’s only one man who gave the order for that woman to be executed. That man is now the head of Sinn Fein.”

 

Mr Adams himself has repeatedly denied the claim and said in the programme: “I had no act or part to play in either the abduction, the killing or burial of Jean McConville.”

 

In an interview for  Irish Independent Weekend Review to be published tomorrow Ms McKendry, who now lives in Crossgar, Co. Down said: “If it was any other country it would be investigated like a war crime.”

 

She wants the Gardai to step up its investigation and is now planning a civil court case against those responsible.   She says she has had promises of financial support for a legal case from a wealthy businessman south of the border.

 

A spokesman for Gardai said: “A Garda investigation into this matter is ongoing. Investigating Gardai are continuing to liaise closely with the PSNI as part of their enquiries.'

 

Ms McKendry told how after her mother’s abduction by hooded IRA figures in the Divis Flats,  she was left to look after her younger siblings for three months, with barely any food and no income.

 

Her youngest brothers in a family of 10 children were just six.

 

“We used to dread coming from school in case we found our mammy dead,” Ms McKendry said “The IRA ruled and we could not talk to anybody.”

 

Ms McKendry told how she met Gerry Adams at her home in Belfast 22 years after abduction.

 

“He knocked on the door of our house in Poleglass and came in with his bodyguard.

 

“When he came into the living room he couldn’t look me in the eye, and he couldn’t mention my mother’s name. He was looking at the ground.

 

“He may not have put a bullet in my mother’s head but he may as well have done so, as far as I am concerned.”

 

Helen McKendry told Weekend Review: “I will campaign on this until the day I die - until I get to the truth.”

 

She has met Gerry Adams several times since that first encounter  and even followed him to Louth during the 2011 General Election. 

 

“I told him that Jean McConville will haunt him on his death bed.”

 

Adams may have resolved to help to help find the body, which was found on a beach in Louth, but the IRA did not stop causing her family trouble.

 

“Through 1995, we received death threats from the bully boys of the IRA and had to move out our home in Belfast to Co Down.”

 

See Weekend Review with the Irish Independent tomorrow

 

Kim Bielenberg

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