Cops Question Sinn Fein Leader Over Notorious 1972 Murder

Gerry Adams denies involvement in IRA kiliing of Jean McConville

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 30, 2014 3:51 PM CDT

(Newser) – Maybe the most high-profile murder during the dark days of the "Troubles" in Northern Ireland is very much back in the headlines. Police today were questioning Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams in the 1972 murder of Jean McConville, a widowed mother of 10 who was abducted by the IRA from her Belfast home, executed, and buried at a local beach, reports the BBC. Adams, who heads what is now the political arm of the IRA, has always denied involvement in the killing and, in fact, has always denied that he ever belonged to the IRA itself. He said in a statement today that he is "voluntarily" meeting with police, reports RTE.

The IRA didn't admit to the McConville killing until 1999, and her body wasn't found until 2003. The paramilitary group alleged she was an informer, though subsequent investigations have cast doubt on that, notes the Guardian. Last month, police arrested a former IRA leader named Ivor Bell and charged him in connection with her murder, one of several recent arrests in the case. Why now after all these years? Because of the Boston College tapes, which the BBC describes as "a series of candid, confessional interviews with former loyalist and republican paramilitaries, designed to be an oral history of the Troubles." Participants were told the tapes would be released only after their deaths, but some content has been made public because of court challenges. In one of the tapes, a now-deceased IRA member names Adams as the IRA commander who ordered McConville's murder and burial.

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams.
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams.   (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
Helen McKendry holds a family photograph showing her mother, Jean McConville, at home in Killyleagh, Northern Ireland.
Helen McKendry holds a family photograph showing her mother, Jean McConville, at home in Killyleagh, Northern Ireland.   (AP Photo/Peter Morrison, file)
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