You said it. You prove it.

Helen McKendry has demanded the PIRA prove their claim that her mother was an informer. She also highligts what she believes is an inconsistemcy in the Republican Movement’s position, when pressed for answers earlier it said:
“When we asked them (the IRA) at the start to tell us where my mother was they told us a lot of the people involved in her murder were either dead or out of the country and that information was hard to come by because of the passage of time.”

However, it now says it has been able to have:
“carried out a thorough investigation of all the circumstances”

  • joeCanuck

    Unfortunately this is another one of those things that is impossible to prove or disprove.
    I feel for this family in their grief. Nothing can excuse what was done to their mother.
    Her murder was bad enough but her “disappearing” and that of others will remain a blot forever in the annals of the republican movement.

  • Joe: Not so. If McConville was an informer:
    a. what information did she pass on?
    b. were any Volunteers captured, operations compromised, materiel siezed as a result?
    c. Was McConville allowed a defence attorney?
    d. Was the guilty verdict based on a confession only? If so, how was the confession obtained? Was she subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment?
    e. If she was guilty of this capital crime – I am unsure if Canada still has the death penalty – who determined it and did the same person also decide to disappear her?

    As regards being impossible to prove or disprove, just step back a moment. The evidence seems to be she was abducted by superior forces, taken away and shot and buried like a dog. It seems to me someone did a much bigger crime than she stands accused of.
    Is that someone Gerry Adams?

  • joeCanuck


    I’m not sure why you are “having a go” at me.
    Perhaps you didn’t read my second and third sentences.

    Canada hasn’t had the death penalty since 1967. First degree murder conviction has a minimum sentence of 25 years before being eligible for parole.

  • joeCanuck

    sorry, 2nd, 3rd and 4th sentences.

  • Not having a go at you at all. Canada abolished the death penalty in 1967. The IRA continued to operate it after that. What would have ot do in Canada to get a bullet in the back of the head and be disappeared? Would Canadians take it into account if you were a widowed mother with 10 kids? Would Canadians elect a disappearer as MP for the families of those he disappeared?
    In Spain, politicians involved in that country’s dirty war were thrown out of office.
    The IRA have made a statement. Having already said too much time had gone by to reopen their files, they now say she was definitely a tout.

    OK. Produce the evidence and let us all decide if Jean McConville deserved her desserts. Openness and transparency, Sinn Fein call it.

  • joeCanuck


    The IRA say she was a tout. Ed Molloy, in his book, gave details of what he said was her involvement (furnished by the IRA, no doubt).
    The Ombudsman says she wasn’t a tout.
    Who is right? I don’t know and it doesn’t really matter.
    She did not, in any circumstances, deserve what happened to her.

  • lib2016

    “She did not, in any circumstances, deserve what happened to her”.

    Amen to that. RIP



    By releasing this statement, the IRA are clearly implying that she deserved everything she got.

  • Reader

    TAFKABO: By releasing this statement, the IRA are clearly implying that she deserved everything she got.
    I wouldn’t normally cut the IRA any slack, and I don’t think that Mrs McConville was likely to have been an informer, nor that she would have been doing anything wrong if she was.
    But some people view this incident in shades of gray – and for them, the IRA claim will be very important to make it all a little less black. And those will include people who don’t think “she deserved everything she got.” – well, maybe just a bit.
    I don’t think the IRA are looking for a round of applause this time.

  • Reader: How much slack shoud we cut the IRA? Please express your answer as a percentage of the slack they cut Jean McConville and/or Colomba McVeigh?

    They have repeated as a fact she was an informer. So why not tell us as a fact what she did?

    They have no wriggle room. Just let them tell us what they know. They are entrapped in their own lies on this one and there is no escape. This side of the grave, as they say.

    I hope Ian Paisley raises this in Westminster.

  • all out

    I hope that the DUP can – just for once – not exploit this case. The family of Mrs McConville do not need their sectarian carpet bagging. It is almost unseemly to single out any murder. But that is not the fault of the family. They are right to continue their campaign for truth. Especially when it can only come from the lips of those whose demands for ‘healing’ and ‘truth’ on other specific cases are so clarion. The ‘small’ people like this poor woman are nothing to the republican movement, save totems of retrospective justification for their own sectarian murderousness.

  • All out: Someone has to run with the ball and that someone is the DUP. Can you think of anyone else? If this serves ulterior agendas, that is the fault of the Provos. Let them come clean for once.

  • Turbo Paul

    Helen McKendry should consider taking out a civil case against those responsible.

    The bar is lower for a private civil action, even if not proven it gives an arena to air the evidence.

    I am sure there must be a few lawyers who would relish this civil action.

    I am sure during her sifting through the relevant documents Mrs O’Loan came across the names of who ordered this murder and those who actually carried it out.

    Perhaps the person who ordered this murder may not relish the serving of a civil lawsuit along with the publicity that would follow.

    If this kind of action is taken then the DUP would not have to “run with the ball”

    If those familiy members of murdered people from both sides consider taking civil action against the criminals then this would seperate each atrocity from being regarded as a political act.

  • But politicians are supposed to lead and Jean McConville’s family have been through the mill.

    Still, I am glad we are looking for peaceful solutions. The 1916 Proclamation hopes that no one who serves that cause will dishonour it by “cowardice, inhumanity or rapine”. I wonder what the 1916 leaders would think of the West Belfast IRA leader behind this. I also wonder if the Belfast IRA will offer the shoot those responsible like they offered in the case of the late Robert McCartney. Maybe they could ask the opinion of Gerry Adams who, he tells us, has been in touch with the family and, no doubt, the IRA.
    On another note: Sinn Fein would probably win a byelection.

  • Ciaran Irvine

    Perhaps the person who ordered this murder may not relish the serving of a civil lawsuit along with the publicity that would follow.

    And that’s what all this is really about, isn’t it?

    I mean, the McConville case is a hideous atrocity….but no more hideous, no more inhuman and no more atrocious than hundreds of other equally appalling cases you could select almost at random from the last 40 years on all sides.

    I do often wonder why this particular case is fixated on by the media, when hundreds of other families who lost loved ones in circumstances nearly or just as callous are ignored. Is it only because of who everyone suspects the man who gave the order to be? If so why not just come out with it once and for all? I’m tired of the grave-dancing.

    On a general point, We seem to always go over the same tired old ground, the same bloodstained reference points – Enniskillen. Omagh. Frizell’s. Kinsgmills. Bloody Friday. Jean McConville. Jerry McCabe. Bloody Sunday. The Hunger Strikes. Pat Finucane. The FRU. Greysteel.

    And that’s about it. Very little else ever gets mentioned, and every, but every, discussion even remotely related to Norn Irn will be certain to reference one of the above within the first 5 posts, and then we’re all trapped forever on the Whataboutery Roundabout.

    Is there any way to break this endless time-loop?

  • Turbo Paul

    The odd “Golden nugget” gets tossed from the “Whataboutery rounderbout” now and again.

    If there was not any whataboutery then this site may be guilty of elitism and would not need the guidence of PB MF etc.

  • Reader

    Taigs: How much slack shoud we cut the IRA? Please express your answer as a percentage of the slack they cut Jean McConville and/or Colomba McVeigh?
    TAFKABO’s remark implied that he thought the IRA was addressing its remarks purely to armchair executioners. But I think the IRA was addressing a somewhat wider audience (some of them came out of the woodwork here after Denis Donaldson was murdered). It doesn’t make the IRA better people – but it is a different perspective on how they see the situation right now. I am happy for the IRA to be made to squirm – carry on.

  • Miss Fitz

    I agree with you in essence, but I do think you are missing one important point.

    The pathos of this story was and is enormous. Come on…. 10 kids! Can you close your eyes and imagine the private and personal tragedy this represented? And she was not a great big strong woman, she was a wee slight thing, with a history of depression and ‘her nerves’.

    The case of Jean McConville will always bring us back to a point where the actions of the IRA are indefensible…..

    Why on earth would they be denying it otherwise?

  • joeCanuck


    Apart from what Miss Fitz pointed out, don’t forget that this woman was “disappeared”.
    So her family doubly suffered.
    That part was needless cruelty.

  • Ciaran Irvine

    Come now folks, I said it was an inhuman callous atrocity, didn’t I?

    I dunno. Maybe I’m just an old cynic. I instinctively react against anything that smells too much like media manipulation. I’m allergic to most advertising. This strikes me as being not a million miles away for some reason.

    The media have hundreds of equally disgusting stories they could run, in an effort to confront the paramilitaries with the reality of their actions. Patsy Gillespie, say. Or any of the victims of the Shankill Butchers. Just to pick two at random. But instead it’s all Jean McConville, all the time.

    Maybe its just sheer laziness by the media. I dunno. I just feel it’s something of a disservice and disrespectful to all the others.

    In fact there’s an idea. 5 or 10 minute slots every night on the telly, each night featuring a short piece with the loved ones of someone who died. Completely random, no agenda, just pick the name out of a hat from the list.

    It’ll take us 10 years to get through everybody. And maybe by then the message will sink in.

    Maybe all this heavy-handed fixation on specific incidents is actually counter-productive.

  • Mick Fealty


    There is an Occum’s Razor that can be applied to this and other cases. Is this case worth pursuing to find the truth? If not, then why not?

    Furthermore, if it is decided that this case (for various reasons) is not worth pursuing, what sets it apart from those which clearly are? The cases recommended by Cory would seem the obvious comparator.

    I understand your point about media manipulation. But should that preclude the asking of ‘awkward’ questions?



    Before you start gurning about needless media intrusion.
    Ask yourself who it was in the republican movement that felt it necessary to issue a press statement?

    Do you think the IRA ought to be abe to issue statements to the press and have them stand unchallenged?

    It was the IRA,and more importantly, whoever wrote that statement, that have done the seemingly impossible, they have poured more hurt and grief upon the victims family.

    And all presumably to salve someones irksome conscience.

    I don’t believe in God, so it follows that I don’t believe in heaven, or hell.
    but the notion of hell for some scum bastards and their po faced piety seems very apt on occasion.
    may they have to relive that poor womans final hours for a millenia.

  • joeCanuck

    Well said TAFKABO.

    Many ugly things were done by groups and individuals on all sides in this conflict, and regardless of Ciaran’s protestations, this murder must rank as one of the ugliest.
    May the perpetrator and he who gave the order lie awake at night and suffer their consciences, if they have any.

  • joeCanuck


    Ciaran thinks that it is just a few of us in N.I. who are “obsessed” with this.
    The IRA statement is now a leading story in the media in North America.

  • The 6 cos and beyonfd got insensitized to violence even before the IRA detained Ms McConville for questioning. There are undoubtedlly eqally bad atrocities we can all think of. But we have to focus in on some rahterthan others to humanize it. There are at least two very bad aspects to this case:

    1. the actual war crime of abducting and killing her, which needs to be explained and examined more.

    2. the IRA cover up of this war crime.

    Maybe it is Sinn Fein’s Watergate. A minor crime, by Sinn Fein’s standards, and a cover up that might unravel the great President himself. Just like Watergate (apologies to non US Republicans), maybe a cleansing process is needed and maybe that process involved a trip to the Hague for some people.

    Gerry Adams goes on about the Pat Finucane case a lot. And that is fair enough for therein lies a tale. But who colluded with Jean McConville’s killing and subsequent cover up? Maybe Gerry Adams, the MP for the area, can call for a public enquiry.

  • Ciaran Irvine

    Mick – all cases deserve the truth. Not that we’re ever likely to get it, from any of the protaganists, but I suppose we can live in hope…

    And of course there are “awkward” questions about this case, like so many others. So why is no-one asking them right up front then? Why all the coyness? We all know what the deal is here – Adams.

    I’ll try and phrase this in a way that’ll get past the legal department 🙂

    Adams was allegedly the local Provo commander at the time. Adams was at large at the time, not interned as he has occassionally claimed. Adams had allegedly personally set up (IIRC) two “elite” counter-intelligence squads which were outside the normal Provo chain of command and reported to him and him alone – one for the PIRA as a whole run by Scap, and a local West Belfast unit.

    If anyone was investigated for informing, it would have been either or both of these units which carried out the investigation, and as the story goes that both reported directly to Adams, then either Adams gave the order to kill Jean McConville or knew about it immediately after the fact, depending on how much “discretion” these squads had in pronouncing guilt or innocence.

    Now, can everybody please stop dragging up this poor woman’s story every few weeks with all sorts of snide side-of-the-mouth hints and insinuations. Put the damn case for the Bearded One to answer once and for all.

    He’ll lie of course, because as we all know he was never in the IRA *rolls eyes*.

    But at least the accusation will be out in the open once and for all.

    There’s just something about the whole media circus I find….what’s the word….dishonest? Smells of…middle-management obfuscation? Yeah, that’s it. Reminds me of a bunch of middle management in a meeting all talking a lot but saying nothing of substance because no-one wants to commit to a position. A load of empty hand-flapping. And not a little bandwagon-jumping and/or cynical opportunism.

    Get to the meat of this story already or leave it alone. The ghoulish glee disturbs me.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Ciaran Irvine: “There’s just something about the whole media circus I find….what’s the word….dishonest?”

    ‘Disengenuous’ might be a better fit.

    Ciaran Irvine: “Smells of…middle-management obfuscation? Yeah, that’s it. Reminds me of a bunch of middle management in a meeting all talking a lot but saying nothing of substance because no-one wants to commit to a position. A load of empty hand-flapping. And not a little bandwagon-jumping and/or cynical opportunism. ”

    Okay, then disengenous was the right word.

    You theory hangs on a couple of “allegedlies” and a couple of “dependings.” Not nearly enough to make heads start to turn, let alone roll, more the pity.

    The saddest part is that it will take, what, two generations to clear out the diseased wood on both sides before anything constructive can be done.

  • The sad thing is there has been no media circus, just as there was little media attention when Fr Faul, Sr Clarke and others batted away for the innocent in Britsh jails. Remember, for example, the Birmingham Six, stitched up for a bombing the IRA said it was not responsible for. That “came good”, in the end.

    The Jean McConville case is not only one of the worst war crimes (= The Hague for the perpetrators) but it is a scab that must be removed to get rid of all the puss.
    The Provos (Sinn Fein, IRA whoever) had some post GFA meetings where those who lost family in the early days of the Troubles spoke for the first time. (Relatives, for example, of the young Rooney kid shot dead in Divis). The Love Ulster Campaign have more than a point and a lot has to be worked through there.
    Brendan Darkie Hughes told IRA recruits they could expect either an early grave or a long jail sentence. Why should that change to bring peace in our time for some who have been centrally involved since the get go?
    Peace cannot be built on a lie. THe British will eventually be cornered on Bloody Sunday, Dublin, Monaghan etc. The IRA cannot be allowed to just walk so contemptously away from it all. So justice for Pat Finucane and justice for Jean McConville, Colomba mcVeigh and Cahrlie Armstrong.

    My personal opinion is McConville was not a tout and she got on the wrong side of some local IRA money lenders with IRA connections as the family alleges. Moloney alleges that when Adams was OC of Ballymurphy, he deliberately held back until the locals were sufficiently radicalized. If so, it would fit the mind set of such an amoral person to calculate that wasting an Orangie, coupled with the rumpur mill, would do the trick, keep the money lenders on side and those they sponged off quiet. And it did, for many years.

  • harpo

    ‘Is there any way to break this endless time-loop?’


    Yeah – you could stop posting for a start.

    I don’t see that anyone can blame a person if that person continues to search for the truth and/or justice when they have lost a loved one. And if they happen to be more successful than others in having their story highlighted, then so be it. The media being the media, they of course are going to concentrate on the more controversial ones, and their choice of causes they follow up can be biased. Thus some outlets go on about Jean McConville while others go on about Pat Finucane.

    I don’t see anything wrong with it. What are you suggesting? To stop talking about all of the deaths, so that the godfathers can settle into a future free of examination, where old comrades associations are free of scrutiny, and can have endless dinners where they congratulate themselves and their dead comrades about ‘fighting for Irish freedom’ or ‘defending Ulster’? Because you know that they are already doing so, and will continue to do so.

    Both sides would love to have things like this buried, so that the scrutiny falls away, and they are free to get on with ataining power via other means. I say hold their feet to the fire. I can’t imagine what it must be like to be a relative of a victim of the Troubles to see thugs like Adams and Ervine wearing suits and acting all civilized. These guys are scum and hopefully one day the full truth will come out about what they did. Heck there may even be some justice dispensed too.

  • harpo

    ‘The pathos of this story was and is enormous. Come on…. 10 kids!’

    Miss Fitz:

    So where is the dividing line when it comes to informers?

    I know the venom that many IR supporters reserve for ‘touts’, but I didn’t know that there was some escape clause from this venom based on gender or number of children.

    Say Jean McConville was an informer. Why would there be any different treatment for her than for any other informer? Are we really supposed to believe that IR supporters think that some 19 year old single man is fair game for a bag over the head before he is shot dead in the head, while this isn’t an appropriate for a middle-aged weak mother of 10?

    I’ve seen time and again the IR groups cheered by their supporters when yet another informer is dispatched. Am I really supposed to believe that there is some sort of line that gets crossed where these IR cheerleaders think an informer can’t be killed?

    That seems to be your position here. You focus on the 10 kids aspect of it. Are you saying that if it had been a 19 year olf single guy that shooting and disappearing him would have been OK, but it isn’t for a mother of 10?

    A life is a life in my opinion. Terrorist groups murdering anyone is a bad thing in my opinion. Are you saying it’s OK in certain cases?

  • Harpo: Have you an agenda for harping on with seemingly contradictory posts?

    Since earliest times, there have been rules of war, of engagement. The Lieber code reinforced these and Confederates were hung for mistreating prisoners. The Nazi leaders and outfits were convicted at Nuremberg for new crimes which were a continuation of this age old tradition. Those who disppeared Jean McConvile should take the blame, much more so than those who tried to disappear Bobby Tohill, who had been a player. There are degrees of black.

    So where was the line crossed in the 6 cos? It was crossed when the first person was shot dead. Within three years of that, ghastly murders were being carried out, so horrible that the best thing to do was skip it.

    Once we lose the capacity to be shocked we are fucked. The most horrendous crime I can think of in England were the Moors Murders when a group of kids were disappeared after being tortured and raped. The Soham killings were equally poignant as is the loss of any kid as it means the loss of hope which is the essence of youth.

    But some crimes are benchmarks and metrics. The Moors murders is the preeminent English case. Jean McConville is a thin wedge the Provos will not dislodge. Maire Drumm had a brood of kids and was whacked in a hospital bed, something which Gerry Adams would agree is “wrong”. But she was a tough chicken and a player. And I daresay she got a military funeral and a nice oration for her troubles. Jean McConville got treatment worse than a pet dog.

    Unless we personalize it, we lose. Adolf Eichmann. at his trial, said that six million dead Jews wqere just a statistic. Once they fess up on Jean McConville, others will follow. Geddit?

  • Animus

    I think Miss Fitz was highlighting why the McConville case has resonated with so many people, I don’t think she was setting out a hierarchy or who it’s acceptable to kill.

    We may not be able to prove definitively that Mrs McConville wasn’t a tout, but the evidence doesn’t exactly point in that direction, now does it? Even if she was, the IRA should at least have the decency to let the family know where the body is. What they did to McConville herself is horrible enough, but offering up glib statements with no evidence is adding insult to injury for her family.

  • Animus

    Should have read:
    Even if she was, the IRA should at least have HAD the decency to let the family know where the body was [ie, at the time of the killing, not years and years later]

  • Mick Fealty

    We have had a nasty case of personation. The person concerned has been banned. Please feel free to play on…

  • How dare you delete my post, I meant every word I said.

  • The person above claiming to be me is not!

    He/She is a troll. As a consequence I will not be commenting on this thread any longer. Any post claiming to be from myself will be a hoax post from the above troll.

    Chris Gaskin