Sunday 22 April 2018

Jean McConville's daughter aims to sue Sinn Fein over murder

Party is 'political wing of the IRA'

Helen McKendry, daughter of murdered Belfast womand Jean McConville, pictured at her home near Downpatrick in Co Down. Picture: GERRY MOONEY
Helen McKendry, daughter of murdered Belfast womand Jean McConville, pictured at her home near Downpatrick in Co Down. Picture: GERRY MOONEY
Jean McConville


JEAN McConville's daughter is to speak to UK lawyers this week with a view to taking a civil action against Sinn Fein over her mother's murder and disappearance.

Helen McKendry and her husband Seamus, who began the campaign to discover the IRA's 'disappeared', say they hope to sue the party based upon their belief that "it's the political wing of the IRA".

They should know later today, when Adams's second 48-hour period of detention expires at 8pm, whether or not he is to face charges over his alleged role in the abduction and murder of Mrs McConville. This could then open the way to any civil action.

In the event that Adams is charged and convicted, Seamus said: "I'd like to take Gerry's holiday home off him. That place in Donegal (Adams' holiday home in Gortahork, which local people estimated would have been worth upwards of €600,000 during the property boom) must we worth a good few quid.

"But we want to sue the party. Sinn Fein is one of the richest parties in Europe. It is definitely the richest party in the British Isles and it is and was the political wing of the IRA which murdered Jean.

"What happened to Jean McConville was a war crime under the Geneva Convention on the forced disappearance of people. Sinn Fein was part of the IRA and it is culpable."

He referred to IRA leadership plans seized by gardai in the 1970s, which outlined how it was to control Sinn Fein and use it as a political tool for agitation alongside the IRA campaign.

The document, entitled 'Staff Report' found at the time of the arrest of IRA army council member, Seamus Twomey, in Dun Laoghaire in December 1977 outlined how the IRA leadership was to direct Sinn Fein to "broaden" its terrorism campaign.

Helen McKendry said she and Seamus "have tried for years to get lawyers interested but nothing happened". But she added: "I can't say exactly what happened but we were contacted and we are to speak to someone next week. All the publicity over Adams being lifted has caused this."

Mrs McKendry, who was left abandoned with her nine brothers and sisters after their mother's murder, said she would like to see her killers brought to justice. "I will do anything to get whoever killed my mother behind bars."

She said she had co-operated with the investigators and had given them names of people who were involved in the kidnapping and murder of her mother. She was unafraid of naming names – something that would have led to her murder in the past.

"What can they do to me that they haven't done, only come and shoot me and how would the world view that?"

She called on her brothers and sisters to also come forward to help the PSNI investigation into the murder.

Any civil case against Sinn Fein or Gerry Adams would likely to resemble the case taken by the families of the August 1998 Omagh 29 bombing victims.

Lawyers for the McConvilles would have to establish a basis for linking Sinn Fein to the leadership of the IRA which could centre around proving Gerry Adams' central role in both organisations, despite his frequent denials.

Sunday Independent

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