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Adams can't escape the ghost of murdered Jean McConville


 Helen McKendry, daughter of Jean McConville. Picture: PA

Helen McKendry, daughter of Jean McConville. Picture: PA

Helen McKendry, daughter of Jean McConville. Picture: PA

ON Monday night in front of more than half-a-million viewers on both RTE and BBC Northern Ireland, the leader of the largest political party on this island was put in the dock. Gerry Adams, the man who has led the Republican movement from the murky shadows of the gun to the centre of Irish public life, was questioned about a murder.

The abduction, torture, shooting and disposal of Jean McConville was not an Agatha Christie thriller set in a drawing room, but a horror story. Dozens of men and women were mobilised by the IRA in Belfast to play a part in the merciless killing. Gerry Adams, according to some who have Jean's blood on their hands, was up to his neck in the complex plot to kidnap, grill, batter, shoot and disappear her.



The Provos needed numbers to break into Jean's family home in Divis Flats in December 1972. Strong volunteers were on hand to prise the terrified woman from the grip of her wailing children.

The movement needed brave women to manhandle what one of Jean's son's described as his "squealing" mother down many flights of stairs into the back of a van. Once they had Jean in their 'custody', there were hard men waiting to subdue and interrogate "the traitor" who had once shown compassion to a wounded British soldier on her doorstep.

The Sinn Fein Party line is that she was a spy. Apparently, this mother of 10 was "an enemy agent". Jean, if you follow the Provo line, cleverly gave the appearance of being a hard-pressed maternal figure. But behind that facade she was secretly assisting the British army.

Jean McConville was a Protestant from East Belfast. Hounded from her native locality in a city of hate because she married a Catholic. She was dispatched from this world because the Provos' followers were convinced the only good Prod was a dead Prod.

Veteran Provo Dolours Price was one of the brave women who helped to nullify "the threat" posed by Jean McConvile. She died this year, unrepentant. Price admitted she drove her to South Armagh. There she handed her captive over to men who specialised in torment. Price claimed she was following orders issued by Gerry Adams.

After the inquisition ended, another order was given from on high, and some patriotic executioner put a bullet at close range into the back of Jean's head. A party of reliable gravediggers then took over and found a remote spot on a beach by Carlingford Lough to erase Jean McConville from the face of this Earth for ever.

In 2003, John Garland discovered Jean's bones while out walking on the strand. Since then, she has become an iconic victim, a symbol of the thousands who perished at the hands of the Provisional IRA.

For years, Gerry Adams has denied any part in the liquidation of Jean McConville. For years, many people took him at his word. Despite massive evidence to the contrary, he asserts he was never in the IRA. It's a lie. Gerry Adams was one of the prime movers behind the IRA's strategy to take power in Ireland through "the Armalite and the ballot box".

Now the BBC/RTE film The Disappeared has effectively indicted Adams for his alleged role in the elimination of Jean McConville. Adams' main accusers cannot be dismissed as agents of the British Crown or stooges of the hated Free State forces, but old soldiers in arms.

Brendan 'The Dark' Hughes, like Dolours Price, is dead. Once upon a time he looked on Gerry Adams as his brother. Hughes went to war with Adams and did time with him. But he died a disillusioned man. Hughes disagreed with the decision to call off the war and accept the status quo. Hughes blamed Adams for selling out.

Last night, Darragh McIntyre's provocative documentary on the fate of those murdered and secretly buried by the Provisional IRA was aired to a UK audience on BBC4. Viewers in all the jurisdictions where Sinn Fein has elected representatives have now heard Brendan Hughes claim that " the man who gave the order for that woman to be executed is now the head of Sinn Fein".

Gerry Adams refuted the testimony of his dead comrades who are still regarded as heroes by many in Sinn Fein. He also dismissed the assertions of an unnamed senior Provisional who backed up the statements of those who put the Louth TD at the scene of the crime.



None of this is news to Sinn Fein's TDs in Dail Eireann. Neither their leader's knowledge of incest in the family nor his alleged role in killing a widow with 10 kids seems to bother them.

Somehow we are all meant to be grateful to Adams and his blood brothers for calling off the Provo war against us. So don't expect Mary Lou McDonald and all the rest to urge Gerry to call into the nearest garda station to tell the cops where he was and who he was with in December 1972. Expect business as usual.

Look, there's a paedophile priest over there! We demand a same-sex referendum now! Mary Lou wants an end to austerity! Dessie Ellis says Brits colluded with UVF. Martin Ferris to visit ailing Mandela. That's more like it.

The ghost of Jean McConville keeps coming back. Remember Lady Macbeth's killer line as she frets over the blood of Duncan on her hands next time you see Adams crying over the state of our hospitals.

"Out, damned spot; out I say. What need we fear who knows it when none can call our power to account?"