IRA finally admits killing mother of ten

Click to follow
The Independent Online
AFTER MORE than a quarter of a century, the IRA has finally admitted that it was responsible for the abduction and murder of a mother of ten children in the early years of the troubles.

The admission follows a four-year campaign by the family of Mrs Jean McConville for information about her death and about the whereabouts of her body.

One of her daughters, Mrs Helen McKendry, yesterday told a BBC Radio Ulster programme that an IRA representative had confirmed that the organisation had killed her mother but that it could not say where the body was.

The programme, Talkback, highlighted the issue four years ago when, in the wake of the 1994 IRA ceasefire, members of the McConville family first felt free to discuss the matter. Mrs McConville was one of more than a dozen missing people, who had come to be known as "the disappeared". Since then the issue has remained in the public eye with President Clinton calling on republicans to supply information about those missing.

The case of Mrs McConville is regarded as particularly poignant because her death had such far-reaching effects. A widow and mother of ten children, she was taken from her Divis Flats home by a group of republican women and never seen again. Many of the children were taken into care as her family broke up. Mrs McKendry told Talkback that she had recently attending a meeting with an IRA member and other people.

She said: "I was told that the IRA killed my mother back in 1972, but they are afraid to talk about what happened then."The man had said that he was doing all he could to get her mother's body back.

Mrs McKendry said that she had felt terrified at the meeting, and added: "It was the first time I have shown fear. I kept thinking what my mother must have been going through that day. I wasn't blindfolded - I was going of my own free will, but I kept remembering my kids' words as I left home that morning - they were afraid of history repeating itself."

Mrs McKendry believes she knows where the body is. "We sometimes feel like taking that building down ourselves brick by brick," she said.