Adams and the IRA criticised following documentary on the Disappeared
SF leader says he will continue to work with the commission attempting to locate bodies
Gerry Adams: “I worked very closely with the commission and will continue to work with it”
Fianna Fáil foreign affairs spokesman Brendan Smith said Jean McConville, a mother of 10 trying to make ends meet in desperate circumstances in west Belfast, was executed on the orders of the Belfast IRA commander.
“The family unit was shattered and siblings separated from one another,’’ he said. “We have yet to hear the IRA leadership at that time deal in any appropriate way with a response.”
Mr Smith said the family of Kevin McKee still lingered with a sad regret over a final phone call from their brother before he went forever silent.
He added that the searing testimony of Charlie Armstrong’s widow, whose loss was still raw and painful to watch even now, was a sharp reminder of the devastating impact the crimes had on families of the men and women who were murdered and submerged under a web of IRA lies and propaganda.
“Mrs Armstrong’s quiet dignity and strength, as she visited the grave of her husband, stood in stark contrast last night to the weasel words of Deputy Gerry Adams and others, as even now they try to muddy the waters,” he added.
“These victims’ disappearance was compounded by the vicious malevolent rumour mill that attempted to cast aspersions on their characters and/or to give false hope to bereft families.”
Mr Smith, who represents Cavan-Monaghan, said the IRA still refused to accept responsibility and legitimate questions went unanswered.
He said The Disappeared was a harrowing programme chronicling a bleak tale. “These are the silent witnesses to some of the grimmest and most cynical crimes of that troubled time.”
Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said he agreed with Mr Smith. He said the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains, established in 1999 by the Irish and British governments, would continue to be supported.
“I have met with the victims’ families and I pay tribute to their dignity and fortitude in the face of their suffering,” he added.
Earlier, Mr Adams, responding to comments made by Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, said he had seen the programme and participated in it.
“I would ask the Taoiseach to join with me in assisting very actively the work of the commission. I worked very closely with the commission and will continue to work with it,” he said.
Mr Adams added that the documentary should be a huge motivation to anyone to work with the commission.
Mr Kenny said it was an important programme in the sense of people engaging with the commission. “My understanding is that it appears as if those who are still disappeared are either in Meath or in Monaghan,’’ he added. “It may well be that people out there do know or recollect these tragic incidents unfolding.”
Mr Martin said the Constitution had been amended to provide for a new section which said the State may exercise extra-territorial jurisdiction in accordance with the principles of international law.
“In that context, I ask that every effort is made to pursue the case of the murder of Jean McConville and that all involved should be in a position to co-operate fully and honestly with the Garda, as well as with the PSNI, so the remaining bodies can be located.”
Mr Martin said there was a crying need, in the context of the issues revealed in the programme, that the victims and their needs were at the heart of what was done in this jurisdiction, particularly given that the body of Jean McConville was found there.