Kenny in appeal over those killed by IRA

Adams criticised by Labour TD for failing to help families involved

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Opposition figures have urged anyone with information on the location of secret graves of people murdered by the IRA to make it available to the commission set up to find them.

The broadcast on Monday night of an RTÉ/BBC film on victims "disappeared" by the Provisionals also prompted fresh criticism of Sinn Féin president and Louth TD Gerry Adams, who denied any involvement in the killing and secret burial of Jean McConville and other victims.

The Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains also renewed its appeal for information. "The television documentary highlights once again the dreadful burden that the families of the Disappeared have had to bear for so long," said commissioners Frank Murray and Sir Ken Bloomfield.

“Theirs is a tale of tragedy and denial – the tragedy of the loss of a loved one and the denial of their right to bury their loved ones decently and to have a place to grieve.”


In the film, Mr Adams rejected claims made about his alleged involvement by the late Dolours Price and the late Brendan Hughes, both senior IRA activists in the 1970s.

'Genuine interest'
While Mr Kenny told the Dáil that he accepted what Mr Adams said about his "genuine interest" in seeing people in possession of information making it known, he pointedly referred to Ms Price's role in Ms McConville's murder.

Ms Price claimed Mr Adams had been her IRA "officer commanding" and that he had ordered the kidnapping and killing of Ms McConville

“The fact is that somebody ordered that Jean McConville be murdered, that someone instructed that people take her away, that someone instructed Dolours Price to drive the vehicle used across the Border and that someone gave the instruction in respect of what took place,” the Taoiseach said.

"It may be that those people are still around and that they know what happened. The deputy's appeal – from this House – may well have some effect and I hope it does. In the context of others who were made to disappear in a similar fashion and who are laid to rest – in tragic circumstances – in Co Meath or Co Monaghan, there are people out there who know what happened to these individuals."

Dark legacy
The film was also raised in the Dáil by Fianna Fáil TD Brendan Smith, who said Mr Adams has still not answered legitimate questions.

“The weight of history is a heavy burden in this country. Shallow graves in desolate bogs, on lonely beaches and down distant country lanes are a testament to that burden,” Mr Smith said.

“The victims’ families are left with that dark legacy. Contrary to what Deputy Adams and others would like now to claim, everyone in the North does not share responsibility for what happened there.”

In a statement and on his Twitter account, Mr Adams said he took part in the programme to assist in the search for the remaining graves: “Key to resolving this terrible wrong for the families is information. I have appealed many times for anyone with information to bring that forward and do so again today.

“They can give any information they may have to the relevant authority, to myself or to the families.”

Such remarks drew criticism from Labour TD Gerald Nash, a constituency colleague of Mr Adams.

“Gerry Adams is the one man with the position and influence over those responsible for and with knowledge of the circumstances of these killings.

“He has it within his capability to help these families.”

Arthur Beesley

Arthur Beesley

Arthur Beesley is Current Affairs Editor of The Irish Times