McConvilles ‘shattered’ but not surprised at lack of prosecutions

Michael McConville says perpetrators should be tried at International Criminal Court


The family of Jean McConville have said they are shattered but not surprised there will be no new prosecutions for her murder.

But, Michael McConville, who was present the night his mother was snatched from her home in the Divis area of west Belfast in 1972, has vowed not to give up the fight for justice.

He said: “We are shattered by news of it but we really knew what the outcome was going to be.

“We just hoping new information comes in.

‘Help us’

“We know there are people out there with information about my mother’s case and we would like them to come forward and help us.”

Mrs McConville, a widowed mother of 10, was among 16 people abducted, killed and secretly buried by republican paramilitaries during the Troubles.

Ostracised by the community amid false claims their mother was an informant, the 10 siblings were split up and put into separate care homes across Northern Ireland.

Michael McConville, who is still haunted by the disturbing memory of his screaming mother being ripped from the clutches of her children by a gang of masked men, believes those responsible should be tried at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

He added: “I remember a rap coming to the door and I remember one of my brothers or sisters answering it. A lot of people came into the house - there were four women. These four women had not got masks on.

“They told us they were only taking our mother away for a short time but that wasn’t the case.

“They denied, even after, that they had taken my mother away. They denied it right up until 1995.

“Then they came out in 1995 and said they took my mother, Jean McConville, away and took her to a beach and murdered her and put her into a grave.

“I don’t think these people should be even tried here [Northern Ireland].

War crime

“They should be tried in the Hague for war crimes because that’s what it was.

“My mother was in her own home when these people came in and took her out of it. They took her down to a beach and shot her.

“They had her arms and legs tied up and then they secretly buried her.

“This has happened in Europe before and the people that did it were brought to The Hague for war crimes. What is the difference with our mother’s case?”

Meanwhile, Ulster Unionist Party justice spokesman Neil Somerville MLA claimed the murder will “haunt the republican movement and its leaders forever”.

Mr Somerville said: “Today’s announcement by the Public Prosecution Service, that despite police investigations, there is insufficient evidence to prosecute seven people in connection with the abduction and murder of Jean McConville in 1972 will come as a further disappointment to the family.

“The McConville family’s search for justice has lasted 43 years. It is a disgrace that they are still seeking justice for their mother after all this time.

“In the debate on welfare reform, Sinn Féin has made great claims of seeking to protect the most vulnerable in our society.

“If Sinn Féin is serious about this, then they should begin with the McConville family. Due to the actions of the IRA, a widowed mother of 10 children was abducted and murdered. Ten children were orphaned and sent into the care system.

Human tragedies

“Of all the human tragedies visited upon society by the IRA, this stands equal with the most cruel.

“The republican movement knows who was responsible. It claims that it fought a war against the British, and if that is the case, then the targeting of a mother like Jean McConville was clearly a war crime.

“Republicans are very quick to demand ‘truth and justice’ in relation to the deeds of others, but is incapable of admitting the truth about its own past crimes and actions.

“The murder of Jean McConville and their other crimes will haunt the republican movement and its leaders forever. It is a stain on the very name of Ireland.”

Press Association