The murder of Jean McConville was a crime, by any standards anywhere
THE ghost of Jean McConville has haunted Mitchel McLaughlin as much as it has haunted Gerry Adams and the members of the west Belfast IRA unit that abducted and murdered the widowed mother of 10 young children in December 1972.
The issue of Mrs McConville's murder and disappearance hung over McLaughlin's campaign to win a first European Parliament seat in 1999. As McLaughlin was tramping the hustings for Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland, the TV and newspapers were carrying pictures of gardai digging a section of beach the size of a football pitch in their vain search for the McConville children's mother. The body was not found. McLaughlin failed to win the seat.
It was to take almost another four years before a man playing with his children noticed a piece of faded material and found it attached to a skeleton, almost half a mile from the spot where the IRA had claimed to have buried the young widow.