Adams denies role in murder of Jean McConville


SINN FÉIN president Gerry Adams has denied any involvement in the abduction and murder of mother-of-10 Jean McConville in 1972.

Voices From The GraveIrish Times

The book contains testimony from former IRA commander and former close colleague of Gerry Adams, Brendan Hughes, who died in 2008.

His testimony, recorded in 2001-2002, is contained in a historical archive held by a leading US college.

Helen McKendry, a daughter of Jean McConville, said she would begin a civil action against Mr Adams in connection with her mother’s disappearance and death.

Hughes, in a series of interviews given to Boston College on condition that they not be published until after his death, is quoted: “I find it difficult to come to terms [with] the fact that this man [Gerry Adams] has turned his back on everything that we ever did. I never carried out a major [IRA] operation without the okay or the order from Gerry.”

Mr Adams yesterday denied involvement in the death of Mrs McConville, accused by the IRA of being an informer, or of being a senior IRA figure linked to some of the most notorious attacks during the Troubles.

He accused Moloney and colleague Anthony McIntyre of being biased against him. “I knew Brendan Hughes well. Better than Ed Moloney or Anthony McIntyre,” he said.

“He wasn’t well and hadn’t been for a very long time, including during the time he did these interviews. Brendan also opposed the IRA cessations and the peace process. That was his right.

“I reject absolutely any accusation that I had any hand or part in the killing and disappearing of Jean McConville or in any of the other allegations that are being promoted by Ed Moloney.”

Ms McKendry said of her intention to pursue a civil case against the West Belfast MP: “Gerry Adams has to come out and tell people the truth. It is not just my family. It is everybody that was disappeared, that was hurt, killed or whatever during the whole Troubles in Northern Ireland. He needs to tell the truth.”

Moloney said it was understandable the emphasis placed on Gerry Adams’s alleged role in the IRA, but stressed the current controversy was partly of the Sinn Féin president’s own making. “He chose to deny something the dogs in Ballymurphy knew was the case, which was that he was not just a member of the IRA but a senior member of the IRA and I think actually this has been an own goal for him in many ways.

“The effect that this had within a broad range of republicans, not all [of whom] are dissidents or against the peace process, [was] a considerable degree of discomfort at the fact that he seems to be absolving himself of responsibility for the bloodshed which, in their view, he ordered and helped to organise.”

He said the role played by the late David Ervine in the Ulster Volunteer Force and the peace process, also detailed in the book, was being overlooked. Mr Ervine had “the wit and the sagacity” to realise the implications of the involvement of Gerry Adams with John Hume and the Irish government at the earliest stages of the peace process. “There was no way that they were playing footsie with the IRA and with the Provos, unless the Provos were prepared in some way, as yet undisclosed, to make major compromises in the direction of both the SDLP and the Irish government’s position on the Northern Ireland state,” Moloney told The Irish Times.

“Unlike other unionists who were full of suspicion and doubt and anger [about the Hume-Adams talks], the UVF and the PUP took a much more relaxed view. This is the story that Ervine tells and I think it is a fascinating story. They go out and they do their research . . . and they discover that they . . . are right, that their instincts are correct, that the Provos are prepared to make major concessions and compromises on the one issue that matters most to them, which is the principle of consent.”

Adams accused: Allegations in Ed Moloney's Book

  • Gerry Adams was a senior IRA figure in Belfast
  • He organised the “disappearing” and murder of Jean McConville in 1972
  • He was involved in the “Bloody Friday” bombing attacks in Belfast in 1972
  • Adams’s closest colleagues were angered by his denial of IRA membership
  • Adams gave the order to kill a republican prisoner and to make it appear as suicide
  • Former hunger striker Brendan Hughes helped Adams take over the IRA and to bring republicans into politics
  • David Ervine pushed the UVF to target IRA members and other leading republicans
  • Ervine helped the UVF identify the IRA’s readiness to end its campaign