Not an informer

Nuala O’Loan has said no evidence exists to support the republican claim that Jean McConville, mother of ten and one of the Disappeared, was an informer for the security forces. This would suggest the family’s belief that it was her compassion for a fatally wounded soldier that led to her being targetted is correct.

  • Realist

    Those who committed this atrocious act were nothing but barbaric thugs, who would not understand “compassion”.

  • Her brutal murder also helped keep other locals in line. Let’s hope her case and the other Disappeared continue to pop up here until Gerry spits back their bodies.

    The issue is not whether a mother of ten was touting but what gave the IRA the right to play judge, jury, executioner and uncaring undertaker.

    I hope this blog keeps returning to these cases until the issue s finally laid to rest b all of the Disappeared being returned and explanations forthcoming as to why these “acts of war” were felt necessary. I hope this photo and what it means haunts Gerry in this life and the next.

  • Nathan

    Casting such an aspersion on victims of the IRA is not new – the old IRA did the same and sought to equate every single West Cork Protestant who was killed in 1922 as an informer – for them I suppose its all about not losing face – better to play the informer card rather than admit that misdeeds were carried out by individual members and that it is perfectly normal for a large organisation to contain bad eggs who sully the good name of republicanism.

  • Henry94

    This is a pretty serious blow to the credibility of Ed Moloney’s book. I’m glad I never believed a word of it.

  • Rory

    The killing of Jean McConville leaves a very dark stain not alone over those forces who abducted and killed her but even over the very community from which she sprang.

    If, as Ms O’Loan has concluded, any justification for the act in that Jean McConville was a police informer, is missing and if indeed she was murdered for exercising compassion towards a dying man then that stain darkens, spreads and deepens.

    When one engages in mortal combat against an enemy then one needs put aside all primary concern for one’s safety and act upon the assumption that the enemy will show no mercy, but in order to retain one’s humanity it is absolutely essential that one is always prepared to render mercy to wounded or dying enemy troops where possible and at all times to captured enemy troops.

    If the circumstances of necessaty flight after an engagement denies the rendering of aid to the enemy wounded and then civilians from within your own community step in and take up that task of mercy which were denied you by the logistics of war then they should be praised and encouraged, not villified, abducted and killed.

    The IRA and the people of Jean McConville’s community must more clearly answer the concerns and questions that arise from her killing in order to somewhat wash out that stain.

    It is also incumbent upon those who control mass communication to allow them fully to make their response.

  • Rory
    I don’t think you are quite right here. Killing an impoverished mother of ten showed the IRA were not going to suffer any dissent in their backyard. If they would kill a mother of ten, who was safe?
    The South Armagh IRA did this more effectively by killing Indian touts from Crossmaglen barracks. The fish can’t have any sharks swimming in their waters.
    The gun rules. It is hard to argue with the muzzle of a shotgun down your neck. Let Sinn Fein explain how McConville and others got the unmarked grave no claim no blame treatment and Scap and others got a different deal. No weasel words can get them out of that.

  • Rory

    I don’t have to be right, Taigs. Nor do I even need to be right. And I would be damned pleased and relieved to find that I was wrong. But this killing screams out for clear and total justification for its reasons or for contrite admission of guilt, or possibly both.

    But then as a revolutionary I have to admit to being, as Raymond Chandler might put it “a weak sister” I cannot envisage any justification for men killing a woman, less so an impoverished mother of a large family in a ghetto. Maybe I’m just an old sexist.

  • all out

    And then in later years the Provos turned to nutting some of their best and most loyal members at the behest of traitor in chief Freddie.
    I don’t think this debunks Maloney’s book at all – for a start, there has never been any suggestion that Jean McConville was working for the police. The allegation (from the Provos to Maloney) was that she had an army radio and was warned to desist from spying before being abducted and killed. IF this was the case, the RUC would have had no knowledge of it. This report is as close to irrelevant as makes no odds.
    It’s grasping at a rather pitiful straw to think this undermines Maloney’s book…it smacks of sticking one’s fingers in one’s ears and singing ‘la la la la la la, I’m not listening’ as the exposure of the treachery rampant in the republican movement grows to a crescendo.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Nuala’s statement sets an interesting precedent, don’tcha think?

  • Rory

    Well, Gonzo, we might want to think about it if you would give us lesser mortals just a little hint as to what you consider that precedent might be.

  • Turbo Paul

    #

    Nuala’s statement sets an interesting precedent, don’tcha think?
    Posted by Belfast Gonzo on Jul 07, 2006 @ 04:51 PM

    Agreed Gonzo, just like the previous precedent set by Peter Hain when there were comments on Martin McGuinnes “not being a Brit agent”

    There was a time when Brit security services and politicans never commented on intelligence human sources, for obvious reasons, protecting those human sources.

    I am sure when Tony Blair was recruited into MI5/6, as a young man, he was told of the importance of protecting human sources, seems now that rule has been disregarded.

    I am not certain of innocence or guilt in this case but it leaves the door open with regards, what is going to be the answer when a real Brit agent is accused????

    Do the Brits go back to “no comment” giving a clear hint at guilt???

    By making comments about human sources, true or not, leaves the Brits exposed to further compromising those human sources, and could lead to the demise of innocent people who have never been agents but are just pawns in the political discourse.

    This is a very dangerous road that is being travelled by the Brits, and politicians alike.

  • Turbo Paul

    Now these precedents have been set, when an accusation is levelled at someone of being a Brit agent, the longer the Brits wait to deny it, the increased suspicion of guilt will be thrust upon that person.

    A very, very, dangerous self-inflicted situation these precedents have set.

  • Nevin

    [i]Commenting on the statement by the Police Ombudsman today into the killing of Jean McConville Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said:

    “I have been meeting with the McConville family for some time.

    “My sole interest has been to help the family.

    “Whatever about the circumstances surrounding Jean McConville’s killing, the burial of her remains was a great injustice to the family. And the family endured significant hardship in the years which followed.

    “Sinn Fein has worked hard in recent years to resolve the issue of those remains buried by the IRA and still not recovered and we continue to talk to the Irish government on this matter.” [/i]

    Surely, the burial wasn’t the only great injustice perpretated?

    If Adams is only talking to the Irish government on this matter does this mean that all the bodies of the disappeared are buried in the RoI?

  • harpo

    ‘When one engages in mortal combat against an enemy then one needs put aside all primary concern for one’s safety and act upon the assumption that the enemy will show no mercy, but in order to retain one’s humanity it is absolutely essential that one is always prepared to render mercy to wounded or dying enemy troops where possible and at all times to captured enemy troops.’

    Rory:

    Those all very fine sounding words, but what have they got to do with the reality of the PIRA? The PIRA routinely shot dead every prisoner that they took. There were no POW camps ran by the PIRA and this was deliberate policy by the PIRA. If they were at war it was war crime. You can talk about what the humane thing to do is – and what you say is in line with various conventions relating to conduct during wars – but the PIRA never did these humane things. They routinely engaged in inhumane acts, and many of their supporters will use all sorts of bogus reasons to excuse them for what they did.

    ‘It is also incumbent upon those who control mass communication to allow them fully to make their response.’

    Horsecrap. Here you are trying to make out that the PIRA and members of that community have stories to tell about the McConville murder, but the big bad mass media isn’t prepared to spread those stories. That’s nonsense. You know very well that the media lap up any and all statements by the PIRA, endlessly analyzing them and debating them. The PIRA has had several decades during which they could have explained the McConville situation if anything had been missed in the information tghat is known, but the PIRA chose not to do so.

    Presumably that’s because they have nothing to add and it is a simple case of they killed a woman and disposed of her body, and then after the event they realised what a whopping piece of bad publicity it all was.

    So stop trying to make out that the media is engaged in some sort of campaign of silence over this issue. You know very well that any news about this case is instantly lapped up by the media.

  • harpo

    ‘This is a pretty serious blow to the credibility of Ed Moloney’s book. I’m glad I never believed a word of it.’

    Henry:

    No it isn’t. Moloney didn’t claim ‘here is the truth’. He simply recorded what was claimed by many republicans. And the stories about Jean McC being a spy were spread, and believed by, many republicans. Moloney simply recorded those stories.

    You do understand that in books people often quote what other people say, don’t you?

    That doesn’t mean that the author shares the opinion of the person quoted. It just means that they quoted them.

  • harpo

    ‘But then as a revolutionary…..I cannot envisage any justification for men killing a woman’

    You are an odd revolutionary. If there is a war on then why wouldn’t men combatants be in the position of being faced by women combatants and having to kill them?

    Many revolutions have involved women fighters. Did you know that?

    I’d say you are a sexist.

    I don’t see what the problem is. Mairead Farrell chose to become a combatant and ended up dead as a result. I don’t see her as being any different from any other combatants, like her pals who died with her on active service in Gibraltar. If she could set a bomb or fire a gun she is not any different.

  • mickhall

    Rory

    Mrs Thatcher?

    You sound like a love child who has taken to many Es.

    Get a grip comrade ;).

  • harpo

    ‘Surely, the burial wasn’t the only great injustice perpretated?’

    Nevin:

    To Gerry it obviously was. If she had simply been found in some back alley close to her home with a bag over her head, that would have been fair enough. The Provos did that to many people and from Gerry’s point of view, that’s just all part of the game. That’s what happens to spies or informers. Thus shooting a woman who is accused of being a spy or informer is no big deal to him.

    I must say though that by not saying that if she was innocent of the charge against her then she was murdered and that it was also a crime, he has dropped himself in the soup. He has now stated that no matter what the circumstances of her death, the crime is her being disappeared and buried.

    He has a cheek, doesn’t he? Pretending that he doesn’t know the circumstances of her death. Someone on here was saying that the PIRA had a responsibility to come clean about all of this. If Gerry is saying that the circumstances of her death aren’t clear, then why isn’t he pressing the PIRA (supposedly a third party to him) to come clean about it all?

    As usual he is giving the PIRA the benefit of the doubt, and that it was OK to shoot a woman dead. Presumably that means it was some act that is in line with his view that there was a war on.

    If any other party shot a woman dead, Gerry would be yelling from the rafters, demanding an inquiry. Yet here decades after the event he still pretends that the circumstances are unclear.

  • harpo

    ‘You sound like a love child who has taken to many Es.

    Get a grip comrade ;).’

    mickhall:

    I take it you think Mairaid Farrell was fair game then, being a female combatant after all?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Rory: “But then as a revolutionary I have to admit to being, as Raymond Chandler might put it “a weak sister” I cannot envisage any justification for men killing a woman, less so an impoverished mother of a large family in a ghetto. Maybe I’m just an old sexist. ”

    No, you’re just a parlor pink, Rory. You talk a good game — and, to be fair, that’s pretty much all Marx did, other than the odd racist clinker.

    I can think of several women killed in the name of revolution, off the top of my head, starting with Marie Antoinette, and several more instances of female revolutionaries / partisans. It also not without precedent for women to set-up revolutionaries — look where his relationship got Che Guevara.

    For the record, harpo, if you’re toting a gun in a combat zone, somebody on one side or the other is going to figure you’re fair game. And if you’re not, the gov’t troops will shake you down for a bribe or the revolutionaries will rob you and either side may STILL shoot you, gun or no gun.

  • Rory (Bremner ?)

    Rory

    “When one engages in mortal combat against an enemy”

    What does this *REALLY* mean, what does non-mortal combat mean, a feather duster fight ??

    and then (rather absurdly) you contimue

    “It is absolutely essential that one is always prepared to render mercy to wounded or dying enemy troops where possible and at all times to captured enemy troops.”

    Captured enemy troops

    Rory, were you in Nam, have you a bit of shrapnel in you brain ?

    How many prisoners did the IRA “capture”, what prison were they held in, and how were visits arranged, and were the IRA’s prisioners viewed by the IRA as “political prisoners” (RUC/UDR servicemen) in the same way jimmy sands thought he was ?

    The only “mercy rendered” was usually a bullet in the head after torture

    are you *SERIOUSLY* suggesting the IRA followed the geneva convention.

    and your grand finale was your quote

    “I cannot envisage any justification for men killing a woman, less so an impoverished mother of a large family in a ghetto. Maybe I’m just a total and utter useless wanker”

    well ok, maybe not verbatim, but the theme is just about right

  • Gentlemen: Your points would be stronger by just concentrating on McConville and not broadening it. Here is a constriuent of Gerry Adams MP, brutally abducted and murdered, her children left to fend for themselves, done by an armed group connected with the same MP, denied doing this for over 20 years etc etc.
    One good initiative might be for the governments to introduce legislation, GFO or not, to send the perpetrators to the Hague unless all the bodies are spat up within a certain time frame.
    Daily Ireland also complains it does not get enough advertising. Well let the PSNI take out two page ads on the Disappeared on a regular basis. You know the type of ads, with seeming op eds included by local politicians. Maybe even put in a Disappeared section into the Feile.

    Attacking Rory because he has not abducted and murdered harmless folk is a bit rich. The McConville case shows how easily gun toting bullies slip into the moral mire (or well beyond it). This is where the rubber hits the road with armed insurrection and Paisley et al have always known it.

    Still: do the crime, do the time. RIRA and CIRA beleive that. Why not PIRA?

  • ingram

    At the time of Ed`s book I wrote about Mrs McConville and at the request of both the family and BIRW I made it public that this lady was not an Informer.Another one to my “right” collection.

    She was killed for nothing more than showing some consideration to a dying soldier.The IRA killed this lady and hid her body, denying for many years their involvement in the murder . That compounded the crime and Adams should be ashamed for that crime. He wont though because that is the nature of the criminal.

    I am pleased the Omudsman has made this information public. Gonzo makes a very good point about the precedent though.

    Martin

  • Nevin

    Here’s a bit more from the Irish Times

    [i]Michael and Jim McConville lodged a complaint with the Ombudsman’s office two years ago, concerning the police investigation into her disappearence. Mrs O’Loan indicated that her inquiries had gone back over police, army and MI5 records, before reaching the conclusion that Mrs McConville was not an agent.

    “We have looked very extensively at all the intelligence available at the time,” she said. “There is no evidence that Mrs McConville gave information to the police, the military or the security service. She was not an informant.”

    But the Ombudsman also criticised the police. “My investigation has also found that police didn’t carry out a proper investigation into Mrs McConville’s death. She was simply regarded as a missing person.

    “The fact (is) that her children were split up, their families destroyed, their lives were very blighted. Their story is a terrible story and they are better placed to tell that story than I can, but they have suffered immensely,” she said.

    It was 27 years after her abduction before any information was available on the fate of Mrs McConville. Finally, in March 1999, the IRA confirmed it had carried out the killing but alleged she was an “informer” who admitted passing information to the British army.

    The claim was an additional burden on the family, and Mrs O’Loan made clear that her intervention took account of humanitarian concerns. It was outside her “normal” role to confirm or deny the identity of alleged security agents, but the family circumstances made the case unique.

    “Jean McConville left an orphaned family, the youngest of whom were six-year-old boys. The family have suffered extensively over the years, and that suffering has only been made worse by allegations that their mother was an informant,” Mrs O’Loan said.[/i]

  • Rory

    To those who responded to my earlier post may I say that the position I take regarding women in combat is a personal one and I do not seek to ask or influence any other person or organisation to share it. Less would I argue that because I hold that view then somehow I ascribe it to other people or organisation as Harpo and Taigs both somehow wrongly seem to think I do of the PIRA.

    I would imagine the PIRA will have it’s own position on the matter and it certainly doesn’t feel the need to consult with me on issues or policy.

    I admit entirely that it is seemingly contradictory to a revolutionary position and while I ascribe to revolutionary ideals I have never claimed to be a good revolutionary, much less a good Catholic, a good Irishman, a good republican, a good husband or father or even indeed a good human being.

    But yet I am all of the aforementioned, for good or bad, and, like all human beings, I hold a wealth of contradictions that are a pretty essential part of the woof and warp of the human weave, to my mind at least.

    So it’s like it or lump it I’m afraid, guys. Contradictory, screwball or even, paceMick Hall, “e” fuelled, perhaps – but on this, to paraphrase Mick Hall’s current obsession, Margaret Thatcher, “This guy ain’t for turning”.

  • TAFKABO

    Am I alone in thinking that one of the reasons these bodies remain unfound is because their discovery would reveal the scale of torture visited upon them before their deaths?

  • mickhall

    “I hold a wealth of contradictions
    Rory”

    Don’t we all Rory.

    ‘martin’
    I noticed in the article that Nuala O’Loan is quoted as saying she could find no evidence of Mrs McConville being an ‘agent’ of the security forces. To those who know I would ask this question, [and by so doing I am not implying one way or the other any thing about Mrs McConville] would the security services regard someone who gave them the odd piece of info as an agent, or say someone who gave them a one off piece of info to get themselves out of a hole.

    As it seems to me, especially back in those days before it was set in stone as to how the police handled touts, it was common[and probably still is in certain cases] practice for the security services, especially the police to keep their touts firmly to themselves as their careers often depended on them and them alone having control of a good tout. If so and the woman was an informer I see no reason why she would be on any computer list. So like much these days concerning touts I cannot see this latest revelation proves anything, especially as such lists would more than likely be filleted to out the provos in a band light.[if that is possible in this sad case]

  • Rory

    Mick Hall’s observations on the reactions and public statements of the forces of law following Jean McConville’s disappearnce, and subsequently, highlight what may well yet prove to be the most important area of debate in this whole tragic incident – the behaviour, credibility and trustworthiness of the police service.

    The IRA have now decommissioned all weaponry to the satisfaction of all the responsible authorities of that which they opposed and their troops have been stood down from active service. Therefore what must concern us about the role of the IRA in this matter is a clear exposition of the truth of what happened on the day Mrs McConville was taken and evidence of their justification (right or wrong) for abducting and killing her.

    Our concerns for the role of the servants of the state in this matter are not merely historical or current in terms of the ongoing pain of Mrs McConville’s family and troubling questions that might well be expected to linger in the minds of her neighbours. They are ongoing concerns of openness, accountability and above all confidence and security of the public mind in the integrity of the present and future police service in the north of Ireland.

    Mrs O’Loan’s conclusions, despite her best efforts, have provided us with no answers, but yet more questions.

    I would that both the IRA and the state law and security functionaries would now make a total clean breast of their involvement in the events that led to this atrocity. But then perhaps, as another contributor (Rory Bremner?) has remarked, I really am a “useless silly old wanker” and piously hoping against hope for what may never happen only goes to prove it.

  • The RUC do not stand accused of kidnapping this widowed mother of ten who must have been too busy to be spying on the local drunks and womanizers. This story is so bad that the DUP etc etc could not make it up. ASt a time when Gerry Adams was alleged to be near the top of the Belfast IRA’s totem tree, they did this. That should be a one way ticket to the Hague.

  • “We are 100 per cent satisfied with this report. Jean had bought furniture from the head of the women’s IRA in Belfast who came back looking for more money. It was because of this and her [Jean McConville’s] Protestant background that she was murdered.”

    Not an informer but in debt to IRA loan sharks, accorind to a family statement in todays Sindo. Ship Adams off to the Hague. Do the crime, do the time.

  • http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,1816319,00.html

    McConville’s daughter, Helen McKendry, told The Observer she had been expecting a counter-denial from the IRA. Speaking from her home in Co. Down last night, she said: ‘It’s strange that when we first went to Sinn Fein about my mother’s abduction and murder they told us the people involved were either too old or were losing their minds and couldn’t remember.

    ‘Now they say they have held an investigation into something that happened way back in 1972. And suddenly people are starting to remember that my mother was an informer. I expected them to make a statement like that, because they have to stick to their lie. What it shows is that they don’t really have any regret or remorse for what they have done. It also means some people in west Belfast and beyond will believe the lie.’

    …….
    Ship Gerry off to the Hague.
    ………………

  • ingram

    Mick,

    martin’
    Quote”I noticed in the article that Nuala O’Loan is quoted as saying she could find no evidence of Mrs McConville being an ‘agent’ of the security forces. To those who know I would ask this question, [and by so doing I am not implying one way or the other any thing about Mrs McConville] would the security services regard someone who gave them the odd piece of info as an agent, or say someone who gave them a one off piece of info to get themselves out of a hole.

    I understand the premise of your point. Yes there is a difference but the essence of Ed`s point is that she was active and received tech support i.e. Radios and worked for the Army etc.

    That would not be consistent with a ” Casual Contact”

    I can say with absolute certainty she did not work for the Army, I am told she did not work for the police.Intelligence at the time recorded accuartely those involved in the murder, no suggestion she was an Agent was ever made in that material.She was killed to show the community who was boss.

    This is a classic case. I can think of no other suspected Agent who was killed and then the IRA ( Except O connor). The standard and well tried procedure was to highlight the perceived role and attempt to exploit the circumstances.Today we know most of those put down the hole were innocent of the charge but at the time the IRA was having it bells pulled.

    In respect to the recording of Agents. Mick you are wrong. There are very detailed records.The practice of anybody keeping one to themselves is not a realistic one. You must accept the IRA did this crime so many years ago and lied and the time and continued to lie for many many years afterwards. Today it still lies but then again what changes. The IRA was quick to make this statement shortly after the Omudsmans remarks YET the IRA still refuses to make any statement about the Nutting squad and my mate Freddy. WHY is thatdo they not consider the Republican families who have been wronged and continue to suffer the mark of Cain. Do they not consider these people to be of value? obviously not .

    Come on Mr Adams get the pen out.

    Martin