Norman Baxter calls for new investigation into Jean McConville’s murder

Norman Baxter may not be running as the candidate for Fermanagh / South Tyrone but his article in today’s News Letter is a damning attack on Gerry Adams and the IRA over the murder of Jean McConville and the whole nature of the IRA’s campaign:

Some extracts:

If we are to believe the confession of the self-proclaimed Brendan ‘The Dark’ Hughes, somewhere a group of self-appointed rulers of darkness decided to abduct, execute and hide the earthly remains of Jean McConville.

Hughes names Gerry Adams as directing the execution of this defenceless widow. An easy decision for these “heroes” of Irish republicanism.

Ten children were left under the care of the oldest teenage sister for five weeks before the family was split up and scattered by social services. No one to help them in their hour of need. No one told them where their mother was – if she was dead or where she was buried.

Their human rights were violated at every level by IRA leaders, who like wolves in sheep’s clothing sought to convince people that they were opposing repression.

The abduction and death of Jean McConville is an indictment on the Irish republican cause and its leadership. Faceless men now exposed as tribal gods, who could abuse women and children and terminate human life at a whim.

In the months leading up to Jean McConville’s murder at least 14 women were abducted from their homes, beaten and humiliated by having their heads shaved and being “tarred and feathered”.

One of his comments is amongst the most damning recently written about Gerry Adams:

Where was God’s mercy on that dark December night in 1972 when the words of death slipped easily from the lips from a demon of death?

He also raises uncomfortable questions which have a particular relevance in view of the imminent devolution of policing and justice:

Mitchell McLaughlin, when Sinn Fein party chairman, pronounced in 2005 that the death of Jean McConville was not a criminal act.

At this stage, when policing and justice is about to be devolved, the people of Northern Ireland should now be told is this still the Sinn Fein position?

Baxter calls for a further urgent investigation into Mrs. McConville’s murder:

The McConville family, like so many other victims, deserve justice.

Helen McKendry should not be left in isolation to seek justice for her mother through civil proceedings.

Civic society and democratic politicians should come together in a campaign to financially and morally support the McConville family.

Jean McConville may have been a poor defenceless widow, abducted, tormented and done to death; but she was a human being and a living soul.

The light of truth will expose the guilty – it should be explored and not extinguished.

  • Michaelhenry

    norman baxter will now be calling for inquirys into all deaths during the conflict,and that the full bloody sunday details to be made public. unlike a body being concealed,the brits concealed the truth from familys for years.

  • Cynic2

    Sinn Fein have often said that the past must be examined. There must be truth and justice. So lets examine it. Lets have some truth and some justice.

    The allegations from Hughes are credible and detailed. He was in the position to know. Adams even carried his coffin and lauded him as a great hero…never mind the fact that the man in the box seems to have despised him at the end. Ah well….the funeral made for good republican optics.

    So here we have a murder and what is alleged to be vital new evidence but just where is PSNI on this? Are NIO ordering them back? Is the Chief Constable waiting for Jean McConville to make a complaint? Can PSNI not afford the airfare to Boston or the price of Moloney’s new book?

    Don’t the Police recognise their responsibilities under Article 2 of ECHR to conduct a proper investigation – or does that not apply when its politically inconvenient? Indeed, where is the blessed Monica and her American funded band of Human Rights Zealots? A mother murdered? Ten children orphaned and nothing being done to bring alleged perpetrators to justice? Is this not a cause they should get behind?

    Indeed, what about all the other evidence in the archives about the activities of the Sinn Fein leadership at all levels? Are there other files from past investigations that were conveniently labelled ‘No Prosecution’ and filed away? What about all the killings of suspected informers? Did they just ‘happen’ or were they ordered? Who by? Weren’t the leadership actually in control? Is there fingerprint or DNA evidence from other crime scenes lying in drawers or files or has a ‘don’t look don’t find’ policy been in place?

    Well Mr Baggot, it’s over to you now.

  • Cynic2


    Why shouldn’t they be investigated? SF opposed an amnesty so they should be

  • Michaelhenry

    cynic2 believes the words of brendan hughes and ed baloneys book,both of whom say that mrs mcconville was a tout,you can not believe one claim yet deny the other.

  • joeCanuck

    I wish some people would stop describing murders as “executions”. Only a State has the authority to execute, and, the UK removed that authority from themselves quite some time ago.
    And, before a tirade starts, NO; “shooting to kill” as a deliberate State policy is not an execution.

  • >Only a State has the authority to execute

    The PIRA saw themselves as the legitimate army of a 32 county Irish republic, this was there legal and moral mandate to commit ‘executions’.

    I’m not defending it, just I think the word ‘execution’ is appropriate. Certainly more fitting to the brutality of the situation.

  • Halfer

    If there is to be a thorough investigation into one murder/execution, then there must be a thorough investigation into all.

    What Turgon et al would like is selective cases for those whom they oppose politically. What would come of this?

    Also……If we Baggott is to scrap the HET then he must also move for a full amnesty to all political prisoners released under the GFA and erase any ‘criminal’ records given to those involved in political action.

  • Rory Carr

    I like this reference to “The self proclaimed Brendan ‘The Dark’ Hughes”.

    I wonder is he any relation to the equally self-proclaimed Norman Baxter.

    Replies please to the self-proclaimed Rory Carr.

  • Halfer

    You’ll need to ask the self proclaimed Turgon about that Rory.

  • granni trixie

    If people are genuinely interested in justice for the McConcille family I suggest that they track down the account of their search for truth in a book written by Seamus McHendry (husband of Helen, Jeans daughter).

  • granni trixie

    Sorry: that should have been Seamus McKendry and the books title is: “Disappeared:The search for Jean McConville”.

  • joeCanuck

    Once the Bloody Sunday report has been published and any repercussions from it worked through, I think a case could be made for some type of amnesty. It can’t just be a few lines in an Act of Parliament proclaiming it, however. Families who have yet to get the truth deserve it and should get it. There would have to be some sort of Truth Recovery (whole truth, not just part of it). One way to do that might require that to be eligible for amnesty, a person would have to admit their crime in the Court or some other forum. There might have to be a time limit on the amnesty to encourage people to come forward.
    Just a thought.

  • Michaelhenry

    hows that search going granni trixie.

  • granni trixie

    MichaelH: for the record I think that there is rarely any such thing as ‘truth’ only versions. There are some verifiable truths such as where a body is buried,who pulled the trigger and the chain of command. That sort of thing seems to be what some victims familes want and I am all for resourcing families across the board.

    I do not think amnesty is appropriate but something like it would suffice. For example, the OTRs will inevitably be allowed back into NI but their crimes will have to be documented officially. This will be especially difficult for someone like Rita OHare who claims she “did nothing”, despite the evidencea but it puts her on an even footing with people who were let out of jail after GFA.

  • andnowwhat

    I was reading the other day that, apparently, under Euro law a country cannot give an amnesty for murder under any circumstances.

    I guess the only way around it is to legally define the troubles as a war

  • Ulick

    Who is Norman Baxter and why should anyone giving a flying **** what he says?

  • Cynic2


    He’s someone whose entitled to his views. You don’t like them then ignore them.

    But we have seen such cant and hypocrisy by politicians some of whom killed and maimed so many people that some of us think its time that they too were investigated for their role. And don’t forget that the allegation in this case from that great republican hero (ie murderer) Brendan Hughes himself.

    It is strange though that since the allegation came out I have suddenly seen him described on here as a fanticist, drunk, alcoholic and even, it was hinted, a possible tout or peace process denier. And all of this for a man who warranted on eth the biggest republican funerals in Belfast for years.

  • Michaelhenry

    like i said before this mans claims came out after he was buried,turned tout in his grave,go figure.

  • Cynic2


    Ah so he turned tout after he died. I didnt realise MI5 had a station in Hell

    Do you ever sit down and listen to yourself?

  • Halfer

    Michaelhenry @ #19

    “like i said before this mans claims came out after he was buried,turned tout in his grave,go figure.”

    What does that even mean and what does it add to the discussion here?

  • Michaelhenry

    mi5 would like us all to believe that they had a station in hell,i listen to everyone else cynic2 then give my own views,is this not what slugger otoole is all about.

  • Halfer

    andnowwhat @ #15

    “I was reading the other day that, apparently, under Euro law a country cannot give an amnesty for murder under any circumstances.

    I guess the only way around it is to legally define the troubles as a war”

    I would imagine so. I’m just not entirely sure what mechanisms there are for that process.

    If the HET is to be done away with then it leaves a lot of cases such as the McConville case unscrutinised and any form of justice denied.

    If we are to move on to the real democratic issues, all of the grievances must be dealt with so we can move past the recriminations and politics of blame and victimhood.

    A full amnesty as part of a truth and reconciliation process in required in my opinion.

  • granni trixie

    Amnesty or “a full amnesty” asa you call it would be repugnant to most in NI. Can’t see it happening. But do see a version of it being worked out which pragmatically suits the local situation.

  • Halfer

    and what would that pragmatic working out entail grannie trixie?

    Amnesty for the British government and ‘mainstream’ Unionists? That would ‘pragmatically’ restrict investigations into those murderous republicans and a few patsy loyalists?

    The conflict here was the sum total of British colonialism. The actions of ALL those involved in the conflict were politically driven and no matter how hard it is to stomach for, there should be recognition of this and a full amnesty given.

    Otherwise, we assume that the population lived in a normal societal context and all of a sudden a large section were overcome with a blood thirsty compulsion to murder….nonsense.

  • The murder of Jean McConville was a barbaric act by those who thought they would never have to face a trial.

    What makes anyone think the murder of a widowed mother of ten would be any more acceptable in the south than it was in the north? No such thing!

    Jean McConville was murdered. It appears the humiliating and torturing of women was not enough, ‘someone’ needed an example, Mrs McConville became that example.

  • granni trixie

    All were clearly not bloodthirsty, but you have not factored in that some were in all likelihood psychopaths (think Shankill Butchers as well as on the Falls).I also think that silence generated by intimidation in the heartlands resulted in various kinds of crimes being hidden or minimised. As we see, a bit like happened in the church.

  • Cynic2


    ” listen to everyone else cynic2 then give my own views”

    No problem. Just try to put a ‘think’ stage in the middle

  • Paul

    i very much welcome norman baxters statement

  • Michaelhenry

    paul in todays newsletter norman baxter says that sinn fein and the provos are equal to the nazi units in world war 2,norman baxter also seems to have a problem with both the d.u.p and u.u.p sharing power with sinn fein,i hope you do not suppurt someone with anti democracy vibes.

  • Cynic2

    Where does he say that he has a problem with them sharing power with SF???

  • Michaelhenry

    so he has no problem sharing power with people he calls nazis,just what type of person is mr baxter.

  • joeCanuck

    I have read Baxter’s article. He doesn”t quite say what Michaelhenry says he said.
    Before accepting what Mh is either spinning or telling the truth about (take your pick) go and read the whole thing. Turgon has linked it above.

  • joeCanuck

    Ok. So, once again, shoot the new messenger, smear him, do whatever it takes to deflect attention away from the real story.
    In the interests of disclosure, I have met Chief Superintendent Baxter. He was head of the Serious Crimes Branch of the PSNI when they solved the case of the murder and “disappearance” of my sister-in-law.

  • Reader

    Michaelhenry: cynic2 believes the words of brendan hughes and ed baloneys book,both of whom say that mrs mcconville was a tout,you can not believe one claim yet deny the other.
    Interesting logic! To demonstrate that you accept your own logic before demanding that we also should, I think you should tell us whether you believe everything Brendan has said; or nothing.

  • Norman Baxter is only saying what the vast majority of us are saying. He likened some PIRA ‘acts’ to some ‘acts’ of some Nazi units.

    Jean McConville and her husband should be examples of what we should all be. She did not care her husband was Catholic. He did not care she was Protestant, that is the way we should all be.

  • Michaelhenry

    reader,you do not say if you believe everything or nothing,so why should i listen to your advice.

  • Michaelhenry

    im not shooting the new messenger joecanuc,butmr baxter said sinn fein was like the nazis,his own words,so does mr baxter approve of unionists sharing power with those he calls nazis.

  • Michaelhenry

    pippakin mr baxter said sinn fein were like the nazis,so does mr baxter approve of unionists sharing power with those he calls nazis or will me baxter apologise for those remarks.

  • Michaelhenry

    I understand your support for S/F in some ways I agree with you, they offer real hope for the future. If they are to succeed they have got to ‘clean house’, because although much must be forgiven to gain a peaceful future and a united Ireland, that forgiveness cannot and should not be extended to the murderer/s of Jean McConville, or those found to be protecting child abusers and rapist.

    Norman Baxter sounded like a caring person infuriated by the facts before him, many of us feel the same way, and you know what, Brendan Hughes may have had more reason but he is not the only one feeling a sense of betrayal.

  • Michaelhenry

    pippakin if mr baxter is a caring person then he could not suppurt unionists sharing power with those he deemed has nazis,its a simple question.

  • joeCanuck

    You keep repeating that “Mr. Baxter said sinn fein was like the nazis,his own words” (my emphasis). Those are your own words (#12 above).
    Mr.Baxter actually said “Sinn Fein and the IRA have a record of human rights abuse that would equal some Nazi units in the Second World War; ”

    Mr. Henry,
    You are being duplicitous or mischievous or both. You have been caught lying. Now go away, and, if you have any decency, apologize to Mr. Baxter.

  • Michaelhenry

    so does mr baxter still think that unionists should be powersharing with those that he said were like nazis,its a simple enough query.

  • joeCanuck

    Agreed; you’re simple enough.

  • Cynic2

    Perhaps more importantly Mcihaelhenry, why are people electing them when they know what they have done?

  • Reader

    Michaelhenry: reader,you do not say if you believe everything or nothing,so why should i listen to your advice.
    I believe some of it. I am still waiting for your logic to convince me that I have to believe everything or nothing.
    To move that process along another step, please tell us whether *you* believe everything Brendan said, or nothing.

  • Michaelhenry

    i believe those who are anti peace got a sick,drunk man to say what they wanted to hear.

  • someone


    Your comments on all threads in which I have seen them are bizarre – never any argument or logic, just endless parotting of a sycophantically pro SF line. You never engage anyone in debate you just repeat the line, like some sort of automaton. You also never ever admit that SF might ever make even one tiny little mistake, like for instance anybody reasonable would expect a bunch of humans to do. You support SF and that’s up to you but please try and engage with other commentators a little more and in an intelligent way – it makes slugger more interesting to read.

  • Michaelhenry

    there does not seem that anyone would or can answer about mr baxters nazi comment.

  • Halfer

    Because Baxters Nazi comments are not the issue in this thread.

    Your trying to lead the discussion into this ridiculous spat about nazi comments because your so insecure in your capacity to reason and debate the issue at hand.

    Regarding your inane comments that suggest that Brendan Hughes was a stooge mouthpiece…..

    It is YOU that is acting the stooge….it is YOU that is acting the mouthpiece.

    I can tell you from first hand experience that Brendan Hughes, despite struggling with his circumstances, could articulate a reasoned subjective political opinion. Something that is completely beyond your limited mental capacity.

    Moreover, Brendan spoke with complete honesty and openness…something completely beyond the liar that is Gerry Adams.

  • What was Jean McConvilles maiden name her own blood relatives should be calling for investigation and charges against who ever is responsible no matter what the consequenses. Jean McConville was a hero no matter what and should be lauded as such something or even a place should carry her name so we can remember her sacrefice