Michael McConville: ‘IRA stops me’ revealing my mother’s killers

Son of Jean McConville believes he would be killed if he gave PSNI details of her abduction

Michael McConville, son of the Jean McConville, who was murdered by the IRA in 1972. Photograph: PA

Michael McConville, son of the Jean McConville, who was murdered by the IRA in 1972. Photograph: PA


The son of Jean McConville has said he would be putting his life and the lives of his family members at risk if he revealed the identity of his mother’s abductors.

Michael McConville was 11-years-old when he witnessed the abduction of his mother from the Divis Flats in west Belfast in December 1972.

He said about a dozen men, some wearing masks, some not, came to their home to take McConville away. “I knew the ones that hadn’t got masks on, they were neighbours from the area. It was at least three or four that I recognised. My older brother probably recognised more of them, my older sister probably recognised more of them as well”.

Following the abductio, the IRA told Mr McConville and his siblings their mother was being detained for a short period of time for questioning and would be returning.

It was only when “an IRA man came to the house and gave her wedding rings back” that Mr McConville realised his mother was dead.

Michael McConville on Today with Sean O’Rourke

A short while later he too was abducted by the IRA on his way to his grandmother’s house. The sleeve of a woolly jumper was pulled over his head as a hood, which he was able to see through.

“They brought me to a house, they tied me to a chair and they beat me with sticks and they put a gun to my head and they threatened to shoot me and they said they were going to shoot me if I told anything about any members of the IRA.”

Mr McConville said he recognised two of his abductors, both of whom were only in their mid-teens at the time.

Asked why he doesn’t make the identity of the various abductors known to the PSNI, Mr McConville said, “the IRA stops me from doing it.

“The IRA, I would say, would kill me or some of my family members,” he told RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke this morning.

He said he occasionally sees some of those who were involved in the events around his local area.

“I’m sickened by them,” he said. “I’m sickened by them when they look at you, they’ve got the cheek to even look at you straight in the face. These people, they don’t care; they don’t care about me, they don’t care about anybody.”