SF members guilty of ‘moral cowardice’ on Disappeared
Labour’s Ged Nash says Adams and former IRA members must ‘front up’ to help families
Louth TD Ged Nash called on Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams and on former IRA members to “front up” and provide the necessary information to help in the recovery of the bodies of the seven remaining members of the Disappeared. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times
Michael McConville (left) with his brothers Arthur and Jim. Their mother Jean McConville was “disappeared” more than 40 years ago. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times
The reluctance of Sinn Féin politicians to question the truthfulness of Gerry Adams’s denials that he was implicated in the 1972 murder of Jean McConville “smacks of moral cowardice”, a Labour TD has asserted in Belfast.
Louth TD Ged Nash called on Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams and on former IRA members to “front up” and provide the necessary information to help in the recovery of the bodies of the seven remaining members of the Disappeared.
Mr Nash and other Labour TDs travelled to Belfast today to meet relatives of the Disappeared and to attend an exhibition at Belfast City Hall about the 17 people who between 1972 and 2003 were abducted, murdered and secretly buried by republican paramilitaries, mainly the IRA.
Among the people the group met yesterday was Michael McConville, son of Jean McConville, who was “disappeared” in December 1972. Her body was recovered from Shillinghill beach in Co Louth on August 27th, 2003.
Mr Nash referred to this week’s RTÉ/BBC programme on the Disappeared and the allegation that Mr Adams ordered her abduction and killing. “The best thing that Gerry Adams and his colleagues can do now is front up and be honest with the families, and indeed be honest with Irish society,” he said.
Mr Nash said Sinn Féin members throughout Ireland should seek assurances from Mr Adams that he was doing everything possible to assist the families of the Disappeared and “bring closure and finality to this dreadful chapter of Irish history”.
“I am surprised that no Sinn Féin TDs, senators or councillors have gone on record questioning the veracity of Deputy Adams’s statement. That is extraordinary - it smacks of moral cowardice,” he added.
“Legitimate questions should be asked of his conduct around this particular issue. The fundamental point is that nobody is convinced with Gerry Adams’s denials. He needs to front up and I think he will be doing Irish society and reconciliation a great service if he did so,” said Mr Nash.
Michael McConville said he hoped the IRA would now make renewed efforts to help locate the remaining seven bodies. He urged people with information to “look deep inside themselves and find a way to bring out the goodness in themselves and come forward to give the bodies back”.
“I think personally there is goodness in everybody,” he added.
Mr McConville hoped the documentary on the Disappeared would persuade former IRA members with key information about the location of the bodies to bring it to the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains. He was unimpressed with Mr Adams’s denials on the programme.
“Gerry Adams is in denial over a whole lot of things and my mother is one of them. I would like Gerry Adams to just come out and tell the truth,” he added.