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Jean McConville’s eldest daughter prepared to name republicans who abducted widow

Jean McConville with some of her family before her abduction, murder and secret burial by the IRA.

Jean McConville with some of her family before her abduction, murder and secret burial by the IRA.

The eldest daughter of IRA murder victim Jean McConville has said she is prepared to name the people responsible for her mother’s death.

Forty-two years after the mother-of-10 was abducted from her flat in west Belfast, Helen McKendry said she no longer feared reprisals by republicans.

“What are they going to do to me? They have done so much to me in the last 42 years,” she told BBC2’s Newsnight.

“Are they going to come and put a bullet in my head? Well they know where I live.”

She spoke out as Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams was facing a second day of questioning by police over one of the most notorious unsolved killings of the Troubles.

Her declared willingness to speak out was in contrast to her brother, Michael McConville, who said earlier that he was still not prepared to name those involved even though he knew who they were, because of the consequences for his family.

“Everybody thinks that the IRA has gone away but they have not. If we tell we will be shot,” he said.

Mrs McKendry however said that she had the backing of her own children for what she was doing.

“Anything that I can give to catch the people who killed my mother, I will do it,” she said.

“If anything happens to me, I will have five children who will carry on campaigning for the truth.”

Mrs McKendry, who was 15 years old at the time, said she was convinced that Mr Adams was involved, despite his repeated denials over the years.

“I have always believed that Gerry Adams was involved in the murder of my mother. Till the day I die, I will believe that,” she said.

Mrs McConville was dragged screaming from her home in the Divis flats by the IRA gang in 1972 after was wrongly accused of being a British informer - becoming one of the so-called “Disappeared”. Her body was eventually found on a beach in Co Louth in 2003.

Mr McKendry said that she had already spoken to the police about her mother’s killing although she had so far not named those she believed were responsible.

She said that eight men and four women had been in the flat the night her mother was taken. One of the women had not covered her face in any way. Asked if she was prepared to tell police their names, she said: “Yes, I am prepared.”

 

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