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PJ Browne: Remember the innocent victims of the IRA

The people of Louth are offered the direct challenge of voting for or against a man who has been involved in the organisation responsible for murder on this island in his life time.

Certainly no candidate from Fine Gael, Labour, Fianna Fail, the Green Party or any of the Independents has that taint hanging over them.

Few Louth people will have time to visit the graves of the "Disappeared" including Jean McConville, a widowed mother of 10 children.

Gerry Adams denies any "hand, act or part" in her murder and the inhuman burial of her body and abandonment of her orphaned children. He has threatened legal action against the Herald because her eldest daughter Helen McKendry suggested so.

But I've no doubt he was the leader of the psychotic IRA unit in Belfast in the early 1970s whose job was to eradicate any one who showed any sympathy towards the British Army or RUC.

Jean McConville's "crime", in the IRA's eyes, was that she gave comfort to a British soldier who had been shot outside her house on the lower Falls Road area.

In the madness of the time, the IRA decided to make an example of poor Jean McConville and to murder her.

The details of what happened are contained in the posthumous biography of Adams' former right hand man, Brendan Hughes. Adams has never brought any legal action against the publisher or author Ed Moloney.

But he threatens action now on the eve of this election. And what of Tom Oliver, the decent Louth farmer who found an IRA bombs dump on his land and called the gardai in 1991? He was abducted, tortured and murdered.

The people that murdered him, it turned out later, included top level IRA agents for the British Army.

And there is the murder of Paul Quinn, the 21-year-old beaten to a pulp by an IRA death squad right on the border of Louth and south Armagh by an IRA death squad in 2008, only three years ago.

His killers are believed to have included members of Sinn Fein.

And what have these three victims got in common? They were all innocent.

l PJ Browne is a former garda detective superintendent. He investigated IRA racketeering on the border and successfully prosecuted IRA members for murder, including a gangland homicide in Dublin.