Politics

Thursday 31 July 2014

Jean McConville's son fears for lives of his children

* Michael McConville claims he knows the identity of the people who killed his mother
* He says if he told the PSNI the identity, he fears his children might be harmed
* Says he fears he would become a target of an 'IRA splinter group'
* Said he is 'glad' to see PSNI treating the case seriously

Louise Kelly

Published 01/05/2014|10:37

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The son of murdered mother-of-ten Jean McConville has revealed that he knows who her killers are but he won’t give their names to the police for fear of retaliation.

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Following the arrest of Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams in connection to the 1972 murder, Michael McConville has said “if I told the police now, one of my family members or one of my children would get shot by these people”.

“Everybody thinks that this has all gone away but it hasn’t. There are splinter groups of the IRA and they would class you as an informant and they would shoot you,” he said.

In an interview with BBC Radio 4, Michael (43) said he hoped listeners would understand his situation. “I have a young family – if my mother was alive today she wouldn’t want anything to happen to them.”

A PSNI spokesperson rang Michael yesterday to tell him that a 65-year-old man had been arrested in west Belfast in connection with the disappearance and the murder of his mother.

“I’m glad to see that the PSNI is taking this case very seriously when they’re lifting someone like Gerry Adams,” he said in the interview, as he recalled the night they took his mother away when he was just 11 years of age.

“A rap came at the door, the [IRA gang] of about 10-12 barged their way in, and they pulled our mother out of our arms. All my brothers and sisters were holding on to my mother. We were crying and squealing.”

"Some of them didn't wear masks, they were neighbours, I recognised some of them," he added.

Just the night before, a gang had taken Jean McConville away from her home, beaten her up and left her wandering around the streets disorientated, with her family not knowing where she was.

“She still had the cuts and bruises on her face from when they took her the night before,” remembers Michael, who knews his mother was dead "when an IRA member left my mother's purse and rings at the house".

Michael was then taken by a gang a week after his mother's abduction and warned not to “say anything about the IRA”.

“They put a hood over my head, brought me to a house and tied me to a chair. They were beating me with sticks around my legs and my arms. They said they were going to put a gun to my head and shoot me. They then fired a cap gun and stuck a penknife in my leg.”

In another interview with Sean O'Rourke on RTE Radio 1 this morning, Michael said he recognised about two of his abductors.

"The lads were only about 15 and 16 years of age," he said.

After that, the children of Jean McConville were taken into care and “never spoke about anything because we were scared”.

But Michael has seen his mother’s killers in public and hates not being able to “bring these people to justice”.

“When I see them my blood boils in my body. I can’t stand these people for what they have done to us,” he said, also telling RTE Radio 1 that Gerry Adams had previously apologised to him about the death of his mother and how the family was treated afterwards.

Irish Independent

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