Taoiseach Enda Kenny calls on Gerry Adams to co-operate with PSNI
Mr Kenny also deplored the revelation that Mrs McConville’s children are still afraid to identify those responsible for dragging the widow out of her Belfast apartment in 1972 so she could be taken for execution by an IRA gang.
He personally urged the McConville family to “name names” and vowed that the PSNI and Gardai will do everything they can to ensure that justice is done and the family are protected.
Mrs McConville was wrongly suspected by the IRA of being a police informer.
One of Mrs McConville’s sons, Michael, admitted last week that he remains afraid his life would be in danger if he identified any of those who snatched his mother from their Belfast flat 42 years ago.
The Taoiseach, speaking as Mr Adams continued to be questioned under arrest by the PSNI in Antrim, also warned it was important to remember that everyone is entitled to the presumption of innocence.
Mr Adams has consistently maintained that he had nothing whatsoever to do with Mrs McConville's disappearance.
Mr Kenny said Sinn Fein’s accusations of a political motivation behind the arrest was in stark contrast to the party’s policy on the PSNI.
“It is a contradiction of the statements which SF have been making about the progress of the PSNI has made as a police force over the last number of years,” he said.
“Remember that the losers here...the real victims were the ten children of Jean McConville. She was murdered, her body wasn’t found for very many years, those responsible have never been brought to justice before the courts.”
Mrs McConville, one of the highest profile of the so-called ‘Disappeared’ from the Northern Ireland conflict, was finally found buried by a Louth beach in August 2003.
“All I am saying here is that PSNI is not the RUC. They have a job to do and, in that context, anybody who has any information about the ten to 12 people and those who ordered them to take out Jean McConville to have her murdered and have her disappeared...have a duty and a responsibility now to give that information to the PSNI.”
The Fine Gael leader bluntly warned that this includes the SF President.
“Yes, it does include Gerry Adams...when he wrote himself to the PSNI and has now been arrested for questioning.”
“I now expect Gerry Adams, the same as anybody else as citizen of this country, to give full and thorough and comprehensive information about what they know or any involvement, they or others might have had in regard to this notorious murder of a woman who left ten children orphaned.”
But Mr Kenny said his greatest issue is with the ongoing fear the McConville family have and Michael McConville’s admission that his life could be at risk if he assists the PSNI probe with specific information about what happened in 1972.
“It concerns me. It shows the rawness of the emotion that is still there and the fear and the anxiety and the concern of many people about speaking out,” he said.
“I know his sister has said she is not afraid about speaking out and she will name names in so far as she can. But let us get back to basics here - Jean McConville was murdered, her ten children were orphaned, her murder has never been solved, there’s an investigation going on into that now and following new leads and new pieces of information, anybody who has information about that murder has a duty and responsibility to give it in full to the PSNI and that includes Gerry Adams.”
Mr Kenny said it was important to remember the principles of justice.
“Everybody has a presumption of innocence but everybody has a duty to bring people before (the) courts where that can be proven and where the courts are the places where culpability is determined or otherwise.”
“(But) I expect Gerry Adams to give his answers in full. He has a duty and responsibility to do (so).”
Mr Kenny said the 1972 killing was one of the most notorious murders of the Northern Ireland conflict and “the eyes of the world are (now) on Ireland” because of recent developments.
The Taoiseach said the PSNI has a duty to protect people in Northern Ireland and he vowed that the Government and Gardai will do whatever they can to assist them.
He also paid a moving personal tribute to the McConville family.
“I admire the courage of the McConville children who knew what happened when their mother was taken away from them and her body wasn’t found for 40 years – they know what happened and they have now come to a point where they are not afraid to speak out.”
“I hope that the truth is known here and I hope that every person, irrespective of who they are, if they have any information about the distressing unsolved murder of Jean McConville that they come forward and give the fullest information that they can to the PSNI.”
Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore said politicians should not receive special treatment when it comes to police investigations.
"I don't think anybody, Sinn Fein or anybody else, should seek to have a different rule applied to somebody because they are a politician," said the Labour Party leader.
"If the police service want to interview somebody in connection with a murder investigation, they are perfectly entitled to do that.
"If that person happens to be a politician or the leader of a political party, so be it. There isn't a separate rule."