Saturday 24 March 2018

Jean's daughter seeks 'war crime' probe amid new Adams claims

Helen McKendry on the beach in Co Louth where her mother was found
Helen McKendry on the beach in Co Louth where her mother was found
Jean McConville with three of her children
Kim Bielenberg

Kim Bielenberg

A DAUGHTER of murdered Jean McConville wants gardai to step up their investigation into the killing after fresh claims that it was ordered by Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams.

Helen McKendry, who was 15 when her mother was abducted and murdered by the IRA in 1972, told the Irish Independent she wants her mother's murder to be treated by the governments North and South as a "war crime".

She is also planning a civil court case and says she has promises of financial backing from a wealthy businessman in the Republic.

Ms McKendry added: "I will campaign on this until the day I die – until I get to the truth."

Mr Adams, who is currently in the USA, is under fresh pressure after a BBC/RTE documentary, 'The Disappeared', broadcast the taped words of Adams' former IRA comrade Brendan Hughes.

Hughes, now deceased, says: "There's only one man who gave the order for that woman to be executed. That man is now the head of Sinn Fein."

Mr Adams himself has repeatedly denied the claim and said in the programme: "I had no act or part to play in either the abduction, the killing or burial of Jean McConville."

A spokesman for the gardai said: "A garda investigation into this matter is ongoing. Investigating gardai are continuing to liaise closely with the PSNI as part of their inquiries."

In an interview for the Irish Independent Weekend Review, Ms McKendry, who now lives in Crossgar, Co Down said: "If it was any other country, it would be investigated like a war crime."

Ms McKendry also told how she met Gerry Adams at her home in Belfast 22 years after the abduction.

"He knocked on the door of our house in Poleglass and came in with his bodyguard.

"He couldn't look me in the eye and he couldn't mention my mother's name. He was looking at the ground.

"He may not have put a bullet in my mother's head but he may as well have done so, as far as I am concerned."

She has met Gerry Adams several times since that first encounter and even followed him to Louth during the 2011 General Election.

"I told him that Jean McConville will haunt him on his death bed," she said.

Ms McKendry told how after her mother's abduction by hooded IRA figures in the Divis Flats, she was left to look after her younger siblings for three months, with barely any food and no income. Her youngest brothers in a family of 10 children were just six.

Mr Adams resolved to help to help find the body, which was eventually found on a beach in Louth in 2003.

But the IRA did not stop causing her family trouble while their mother was missing.

"Through 1995, we received death threats from the bully boys of the IRA and had to move out of Belfast to Co Down."

Irish Independent

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