In the long and bloody annals of the Troubles, the murder of Jean McConville in 1972 was the most sickening and savage of acts.
Mrs McConville was a mother of 10 children. She was abducted in late 1972 from her home by a gang of masked thugs. She was taken away to a secluded area outside Belfast and was executed in traditional IRA fashion with a bullet to the back of the head.
Her body was found eventually in 2003 and was returned to her family for a Christian burial. The murder of this innocent mother caused outrage, disgust and revulsion.
She was a Protestant who had married a Catholic and lived in Belfast's Divis flats.
The reason given for her brutal murder by her killers was that she was an informant. One can only wonder what information a poor widow struggling to raise 10 children in unbelievably difficult circumstances would have, and what threat she could have posed to one of the most ruthless paramilitary organisations in the world.
Now, the finger has been pointed from beyond the grave, alleging that the president of Sinn Fein, Gerry Adams, as the IRA chief of staff or a member of the IRA Army Council, ordered the abduction and killing of Jean McConville.
This dramatic and shocking revelation will soon be revealed in a book entitled Voices From The Grave by journalist Ed Moloney. He quotes in the book Brendan 'Darkie' Hughes, a notorious leading IRA man who, in what amounted to a deathbed confession, claimed it was Gerry Adams who ordered the killing of Jean McConville. Hughes agreed to speak on condition that this material would not be published until after his death.
He claimed Gerry Adams even insisted that Jean McConville be buried rather than shot in the street. Adams, of course, in his first public statement since these accusations, has denied any involvement in the murder of Jean McConville and has gone on further to describe Brendan Hughes' claims as ramblings of a sick and disorientated man.
True to form, of course, what else could we expect from Gerry Adams -- a man who has consistently denied ever even being a member of the IRA?
Brendan Hughes' claims cannot be so lightly dismissed on this occasion by Mr Adams.
Hughes was, after all, one of his most trusted volunteers and had taken part in many bloody episodes throughout the Troubles. Hughes has pointed the bloody finger at Adams from beyond the grave.
Now, Mrs McConville's daughter, Helen
McKendry, says she wants Gerry Adams to admit that he ordered the murder of her mother.
In view of his past 'weasel words' of denial of his involvement in any shape, make or form of even being a member of the IRA, it is wishful thinking for Helen McKendry to expect that the leopard will change his spots now, especially as he is being accused publicly of one of the most heinous crimes of the Troubles.
Gerry Adams, for me, was always a sinister figure, who carried the aura of the night about him. Gerry Adams this morning must realise that his carefully cultivated image as a statesman and man of peace is shattered beyond repair.
Despite all that I've written, Gerry Adams must be given the credit he deserves for his enormous contribution in bringing to an end 30 years of violence, of murder, mayhem and bloodshed.
According to all that I know about him, Gerry Adams is a devout and practising Catholic and a regular and daily communicant.
If these allegations are true, then Adams must realise that -- as his old comrade did when faced with the awful prospect of the judgment of God and facing oceans of vast eternity -- if he is to be true to his beliefs and before God, he should now confess to his role in this shameful affair.
At the very least, he must now step down from his role as the president of Sinn Fein and depart.
One of the best suggestions in recent times from any political party has been Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny's commitment to axe the Seanad.
At the time, this proposal upset many in his party, who saw it as a solo run.
Having read the recent report from the Register of Members' interests, which was published earlier this week, it will surely give added impetus and urgency to this proposal to abolish the Seanad.
I have always believed it to be a scandalous waste of public money.
Nowhere has that become more apparent than in the current financial ruin our country is in.
The disclosures of the Register of Members' interests will anger ordinary citizens in these dark and troubled times.
Parents trying to feed, clothe, educate their children and to keep a roof over their heads, plus the almost 500,000 unemployed, will see today's disclosure of the Senators of their property interests and their wealth as nothing short of a shocking insult.
GOOD Friday fast approaches. For many of my pint-drinking companions, preparations and plans will be well under way from Monday of Holy Week to gain access to that most holy of holies on Good Friday.
I'm speaking of course of the local boozer.
Why is it? It must be the old adage about the temptation of forbidden fruit, the sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve, that landed us all in the mess we are in.
The Holy Grail for all good drinkers is to get a pint on Good Friday. The good book says confession is good for the soul.
I want to admit that I've never gone a Good Friday since I was 17 without "wetting my whistle".
Seriously, is it not time that the Government consider reforming these archaic and silly licensing laws?
But then again, a pint on Good Friday wouldn't be half as much fun if it was legal.