Tuesday 20 February 2018

Gerry Adams will talk to detectives probing McConville murder

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams

David Young

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams will speak to PSNI detectives investigating the murder of Belfast mother-of-10 Jean McConville, he said yesterday.

The move comes after a veteran republican – 77-year-old Ivor Bell – was charged last week in connection with the notorious IRA killing in 1972.

As Bell, from Ramoan Gardens in west Belfast, was remanded in custody on Saturday charged with aiding and abetting the murder, Belfast Magistrates Court heard police moved against him on the basis of an interview he allegedly gave to researchers from a college in Boston, Massachusetts – tapes a US court last year ordered to be handed over to officers from the PSNI.

Other republicans interviewed for the Boston College Troubles archive project have alleged Mr Adams had a role in ordering Mrs McConville's death.

Mr Adams, who has always denied membership of the IRA, has vehemently rejected the allegations in relation to the murder.

He reiterated that denial yesterday as he issued a statement in response to what he described as "media speculation" that the PSNI now wanted to speak to him.

"I can understand the McConville family's anger and hurt given what they have been through and given what some anti-peace process former republican activists have been alleging," he said.

"However, let me repeat. What happened to Jean McConville was a terrible injustice. I was not involved in any part of it. If the PSNI wish to talk to me on this matter I am available to meet them. I have asked my solicitor to contact them."

Researchers from Boston College interviewed a number of former paramilitaries about the Troubles on the understanding transcripts would not be published until after their deaths – but that undertaking was rendered ineffective when the US court ordered that tapes touching on Mrs McConville's death be given to PSNI detectives.

Mr Adams heavily criticised the oral history project, claiming some of those involved were opposed to Sinn Fein.

"Some of the individuals interviewed have gone to great lengths to attack the republican struggle, the peace process and the political process through lies, distortions and personal attacks," he said.

In an unsuccessful application for bail on Saturday, a solicitor for Bell, who is also charged with IRA membership, said his client had every incentive to go to court to prove his innocence.

Press Association

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