Thursday 29 January 2015

Jean McConville not big poll issue, says SF hopeful

Niall O'Connor Political Correspondent

Published 13/05/2014 | 02:30

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams with European election candidates ( from left to right) Liadh Ni Riada, Martina Anderson and Lynn Boylan. Damian Eagers
Gerry Adams takes a 'selfie' with Mary Lou McDonald and European election candidates Liadh Ni Riada, Lynn Boylan and Martina Anderson after the launch of the party's European election manifesto in Buswell's Hotel. Picture: Damien Eagers
Jean McConville

A Sinn Fein European election candidate has claimed that voters are more concerned about struggles in their own lives than the brutal murder of Jean McConville.

The party's Ireland South candidate Liadh Ni Riada insisted that the murder of the mother of 10 took place over 40 years ago and that families were more exercised about their personal woes.

Ms Ni Riada, tipped to take a seat in the election, said she engaged with voters in recent days over the arrest of Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams.

Senior Sinn Fein figures have expressed concern that Mr Adams's four-day detention in Antrim police station could damage the party's election prospects.

But speaking at an event in Dublin, Ms Ni Riada said her leader had "no hand, act or part" in Ms McConville's death.

"Obviously not demeaning or belittling Jean McConville in any sense, but I suppose when you consider that it happened over 40 years ago, although people will be sympathetic, they are more concerned about the reality of living lives for themselves – which is not being able to put food on the table, not being able to put a roof over their heads, not being able to afford to put their kids through school. So they were the burning issues on the ground," she said.

"It's been stated over and over again, that Gerry Adams had no hand, act or part to do with the Jean McConville murder. As I said, I'm a mother myself. I lost my own mother when I was quite young, I empathise with the family that lost their mother and nobody wants anybody to go through that experience," she added.

Meanwhile, Mr Adams insisted that his recent arrest had "galvanised" Sinn Fein supporters ahead of the local and European elections.

The Louth TD was speaking in Dublin at the launch of the party's European election manifesto. He said his arrest "should not be taken as any indication of guilt" and that he could not predict the impact it would have on this month's poll results.

"We don't take anything for granted, we are trying to get all our MEPs elected. One of the things that has arisen from my arrest is an alertness that the peace process cannot be taken for granted."

Irish Independent

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