Anger as IRA smears Jean McConville again
JIM CUSACK and DON LAVERY POLITICAL leaders reacted with disgust and anger last night to an IRA statement claiming that the murdered Belfast mother of 10 Jean McConville was an informer.
Just a day after an official investigation by Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan found that Mrs McConville was not aninformer, Sinn Fein/IRA added to the family's anguish by seeking to legitimise her murder.
The terrorist movement in a statement signed by the fictitious 'P O'Neill' directly contradicted the conclusion of an investigation by Mrs O'Loan.
Last night the Minister for Justice Michael McDowell told the Sunday Independent: "Whose word are we to accept, the IRA or Nuala O'Loan? There is no evidence that Jean McConville was an informer.
"I would challenge Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness and Mary Lou McDonald to say whether Jean McConville's murder was a crime."
Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said: "The IRA attitude says more about the IRA than it does about anyone else.
"The fact is that the IRA murdered Jean McConville, they dragged her out of her house in front of her children
and she was was not seen again until her body was accidently discovered.
"The IRA and republican elements have evidence on other murders and disappearances and it would be far more in line for them to provide information to bring those murders to a Christian conclusion than issuing statements like that today."
The IRA claimed yesterday that after a public request from the McConville family the organisation carried out a "thorough investigation", which confirmed that the 37-year-old mother was "working as an informer for the British army". The statement directly contradicts a conclusion by Nuala O'Loan on Friday.
"We are absolutely positive that she wasn't an informant," Mrs O'Loan said.
In response, Mrs McConville's daughter, Helen McKendry, said the Ombudsman had confirmed what the family had always known - that their mother was an innocent woman.
Masked men abducted Mrs McConville from her Belfast home in front of her children in 1972 who were placed into different foster homes when she never returned.
Her family said she was killed after she went to the aid of a fatally wounded British soldier outside her home in West Belfast's Divis flats.
The IRA admitted killing her in 1999. A man walking his dog along cliffs near the beach stumbled across McConville's partly unearthed grave in 2003. She had been shot once in the back of the head.