Saturday 7 December 2019

McConvilles take heart from voters who doubt truth of Adams's denial

Helen McKendry, daughter of Jean McConville, with the only family photograph of her mother
Helen McKendry, daughter of Jean McConville, with the only family photograph of her mother
Jean McConville
Gerry Adams

Jim Cusack

THE family of 'disappeared' mother-of-10 Jean McConville's have said they are "heartened" to learn that half of Irish voters believe Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams was involved in her murder.

Reacting to the findings in yesterday's Irish Independent, Seamus McKendry, the husband of Jean's eldest daughter, Helen, told the Sunday Independent: "It is heart-warming to hear that half the people in Ireland believe Adams was involved in Jean's murder.

"We have so often felt we were on our own. We are heartened by it. We have often felt isolated and alone over the last decades."

Mr McKendry also revealed that he and Helen last week met lawyers who intend taking a civil case against Adams over the murder.

He said: "We can't say who they (the lawyers) are at present but they came to Belfast last week and we met them. No action can be taken pending the decision of the Crown Prosecution Service following Adams' arrest by the PSNI but the preparation can go on."

Mr McKendry also criticised the fact that within two days of being released after questioning about the December 1972 murder and disappearance of the widowed mother, Adams was on RTE radio taking part in a discussion and criticising An Garda Siochana over the whistleblower controversy.

He said: "Does no one remember that he was the head of an organisation that murdered gardai as well as innocent people in Northern Ireland?

"It's difficult for us when we see him being treated as if he was an ordinary politician and only ever some kind of republican sympathiser.

"The British Government brought him to two top meetings in 1972, in London and then in Donegal. He was let out of Long Kesh (internment camp outside Belfast) and flown to London to meet senior British ministers.

"He was there with Seamus Twomey, Daithi O Connail and Martin McGuinness. He wasn't there as some kind of Sinn Fein representative or IRA sympathiser. He was there as an IRA general.

"And yet there he is just released from questioning and he is on radio talking about the gardai. He was the head of an organisation that killed enough of them in its time.

"That's why we often feel isolated over this. He is given so much time in the media to comment on anything, even about the guards. He, more than anyone, has no right to give off about the gardai.

"That's why we were genuinely heartened when we heard about the poll in the Irish Independent. It's good to know that so many decent people do believe us and don't believe him."

The Irish Independent/ Millward Brown opinion poll asked: "Do you believe Gerry Adams was any way involved in the murder of Jean McConville or not?"

Forty-five per cent said that they did believe so, 23 per cent said they did not and 32 per cent answered "don't know".

The "don't believes" were highest among Sinn Fein voters, with 45 per cent saying they believed that he was not involved. Otherwise the "don't believes" registered under 30 per cent across Dublin and voters under 34.

Those who believe he was involved in the murder and disappearance were highest among Fine Gael voters, with 55 per cent believing he was involved. Fifty-two per cent of Labour voters believed he was and 51 per cent of Independent supporters. Some 48 per cent of 25-34-year-olds believe he was involved.

Mr McKendry said the poll findings represented "an amazing situation where half a country believes he was involved in one of the most evil murders in the history of the North, yet he continues to be the head of a political party and be treated in parts of the media as though he was just the same as Enda Kenny".

Sunday Independent

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