Helen McKendry on her mother’s abduction nearly 38 years later…

Before this passes, I recommend people watch this interview (1.02 in) with Helen McKendry on last Friday’s Late Late Show… In it she recounts her memories of the events that led to the disappearance of her mother, Jean McConville. How she refused to move back to her family in East Belfast, insisting that she had done nothing wrong. First lured from a local bingo hall with a false story that Helen herself had suffered a road traffic accident and then beaten severely, the IRA abducted the recently widowed mother of ten from her Divis flat by eight men and four women. The detail of her testimony contrasts with most extant accounts.
As a footnote it’s worth nothing that the Sunday World reported threats by mainstream republicans against one of the researchers on the Boston College archive project.

  • J Kelly

    You cant have both ways here either Brendan Hughes is telling the truth or he is not.

    Come on Mick I thought you were better than to quote The Sunday World…..

  • Mark McGregor

    J Kelly,

    It may be the Sunday World but the pathetic shit smearing incident did happen.

  • J Kelly

    Mark and because it was next door, a couple of doors or even same town as mackers house it had to be “big bad provies”. A republican source told the SW that mackers will be killed some night while out walking complete and utter bull. The Sunday World is a rag, you know it, Mick knows it everyone knows it but Mick used it to sex up this thread.

  • Lionel Hutz

    The interview was difficult to watch. Brendan Hughes account contains very little first hand evidence. He may well have been told she was an informer

  • Seosamh913

    Judging by the information so far made known, I would say that this attack does rather tend to contradict Henry McDonald’s view that a lot of the sophisticated technical expertise within the Provisionals has defected (defecated ?) to the splinter groups.

    I’m not a conspiracist by inclination but isn’t it possible that the responsibility lies directly with one of the senior operators who took part in the abortive, er, Fecal talks of 1974 ?

  • Cynic2

    Didn’t Gerry specifically mention McIntyre backeted with Moloney in a Press Conference recently? I am sure it was intended in a positive and supportive fashion and to give lie to these terrible insinuations that PIRA (they have gone away you know?) might murder him.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    The problem with the interview is that nobody will actually do anything.

    We all know the PIRA murdered Jean McConville. We all know who were senior operatives in and around West Belfast at that time. It has been documented for years.
    Is it actually going to make a difference in West Belfast (5 SF and 1 SDLP MLA). Will Alliance sweep into power. Will the people of West Belfast suddenly wake up thinking that the PIRA murdered Jean McConville and that they might withold voting for a men and women who were in the IRA.?
    I doubt it.
    Will SDLP actually gain any votes because of it? Doubt it. Will they suddenly decide that they want no part of an Executive which includes such people? Er…..no.
    And the Governments. Will either suddenly have a big re-think about Sinn Féin involvement in all this Peace Process? Er no………….besides they have uncomfortable truths as well.
    Alan Simpson the Detective in charge of the Finnucane case has publisheda book……..just like Moloney/Hughes which has things to say about collusion etc.
    Strangely none of the fearless scribes on Slugger O’Toole has bothered to mention it.
    Ah well we can surely trust the UUP to be disgusted by all this McConville business. Well of course they are disgusted but not disgusted enough to actually DO anything like leaving the Executive.
    Well in fairness the DUP are upholders of Law & Order and after all Mrs McConville was a native of East Belfast. Surely Peter Robinson will lead his DUP people out of the Executive? Well…….no.
    But dont worry theres always David Ford. A man who actually owes his job to……er Sinn Féin. Well the same david who declared Bloody Sunday as “pointless” is the same David who would think leading AP out of the Executive chair he has craved for years.would be “pointless”
    So we are left with Jim Allister ….a man prepared to call a spade a shovel.
    But the same Overclass who are flogging the McConville story are not exactly big fans of Jim Allister.
    Which means the only people who really care ENOUGH about this story are our fearless local “Glendas” and “Lunchtimes”.
    Though strangely they were not THAT concerned prior to SF getting into office.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    “reported threats by mainstream Republicans”????
    The story itself indicates its the Provos.

    But how can an Organisation which doesnt exist make threats.? Unless of course they DO exist. And it would be the duty of our “mainstream journalists” to investigate that.
    And of course if an individual is threatened……he should approach the Police (even if he is not favourably disposed to them).
    And anyone who believed that a crime against this individual was likely ……should of course contact the Police.
    One hopes that Mr Moloney has reported his fears to the local PSNI. It seems more constructive than giving a quote to the Sunday World.
    Maybe journalists are not obliged to report crimes (and a threat is a crime)
    Maybe journalists can claim “privelege” in respect of threats against say you and me.

    Maybe its all retrospective. Ed Moloney will “report the crime” in 35 years time. Really useful for the whole Justice thing.

    And Anthony McIntyre is a card carrying member of the NUJ? Well Im kinda prepared to believe one impossible thing daily…so I daresay he is.

  • granni trixie

    Thanks for this link Mick. I remember when Helen McHendry was just starting to articulate her story in 1993 when she looked to the peace movement for help. Great to see how articulate and able she is now.

    Several key points in her account is at odds with Hughe’s but, whatever, her version is good enough for me.

    What she,Hughes and Delores Price all have in common however is that GA was a person directing the IRA.
    in the 70s.

  • I would like to see the Irish Govt say that a crime such as the murder of Jean McConville would, if the evidence were forthcoming, be pursued on this side of the border and regardless of any so called amnesty.

    I also think Mr Hughes may have been mislead. Why should such a thing be so surprising to anyone, according to him he was mislead for years.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    msg 10.
    Even if the Irish Govt decided to do that, the other “partners” in the process would be opposed to it.
    As I have said before …everyone has been sold this on the basis of a LIE (Creative Ambiguity” and that will be the Rock on which it perishes.

  • To whom it may concern!

    I am not aware of any other ‘partners’ who have any veto on whoever the Irish judiciary decides to prosecute, and at least one of those ‘partners’ has ambitions on this side of the border.

    I am sick and tired of playing footsie with this. A woman was brutally murdered, the crime has never been solved. If sufficient evidence comes forward then the perverts who committed the crime should be prosecuted, and since Ireland has a claim to all 32 counties it falls within their jurisdiction. If the Brits wont prosecute we should. It aught to be a double whammy for the victims family – not the other way round.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Well by all means pippakin….go along to your local Garda Station. Write to the Attorney General. Say youre sick and tired. And they still wont lift a finger.
    And in so far as successive Irish Govts have bought into the Fiction underpinning it all, there are rightly or wrongly “other parties”.

  • Mick Fealty

    J Kelly,

    The real issue for me is the lack of detail in the public domain. If some of what Helen McKendry says falsifies the Hughes story then that’s better than the sullen silence that was there before. I’m not at home at the moment, so I have not checked Lost Lives narrative against this interview.

  • Alias

    Pip, even if the Irish state had legal jurisdiction, Mr Adams is a protected species, enjoying the protection of the British state in the matter of legal immunity from prosecution in actions undertaken to promote its national security. So why does that matter to the Irish state? Probably because its intelligence agencies (which would have a veto) are also infiltrated by intelligence agencies of the British state its very highest levels, as are its political parties and the Department of Foreign Affairs.

    It was possible in the early stages of this infiltration to use counterintelligence to undermine it but not when senior party hacks signed up (not naming my suspects here from beneath my dapper tin-foil hat as Mick will be glad to hear), so the private secretary to the head of Special Branch and C3, Chief Superintendent John P. Fleming, was arrested passing state secrets to his handler in MI6 and the head of the Gardai, Commissioner Edmund Garvey, was sacked by the State for ‘undisclosed’ reasons – being too close to MI5.

    The British state has the lead role in NI matters, and the other States simply support the leader, so even if that infiltration didn’t undermine Irish sovereignty, the current process is designed to do that anyway. The Irish state has attached itself to the British state as its tail.

    When they all sing from the same hymn sheet, the power lies with whoever writes the hymns…

  • granni trixie

    FJH: if you could stop yourself trying to be so smart alecky for a minute, you might engage your brain long enough to see that the most important aspect of the McConville story is that Helen McHendry (and possibly her siblings) seek an explanation, not how thew story might impact on political parties etc.

    A code of silence, generated by intimidation prevailed, then when the context changed,the disappeared spoke out. The Helen McHendry of today seems light years away from the trembling,distubed women I saw in 1993, hardly able to articulate anything.
    Surely this empowerment from intimidation is worthwhile in itself?

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Oh indeed granni trixie,
    But effectively the story is not 1972 and 2010. It has as your reference to 1993 indicates evolving.
    Incidently I think that in this and other threads I have made my revulsion to the whole notion of Creative Ambiguity. I consider it Lies ….nothing less.
    Whether the Peace Process is worth Creative Ambiguity, Im not so sure. My position is that anything predicated on a Lie is a bad thing, not redeemed by the Greater Good.
    1972 to mid 1980s certainly the biggest factor was intimidation
    Followed by the first tentative steps at Closure and Justice……but fighting as other cases (involving say Collusion or Bloody Friday or la Mon or McGurks Bar or whatever) a tidal wave of getting the Extremes on board.
    Some including obviously SF-IRA want to draw a veil over anything before 1998. And Id submit that the SF agenda is effectively shared by the governments, SDLP, DUP, Alliance and UUP despite pious protestations to the contrary.
    Which of course leaves an unholy coalition of dissident republicans such as card carrying NUJ member McIntyre who clearly has an agenda….and a Media which has all of a sudden developed a fearless streak.
    But did you notice that we are getting broad hints that the IRA still exists even getting into discussions with the Beeb.
    Now I find that all rather odd…and no amount of support from Creative ambiguity makes that less odd. We are told on Wikipedia that 90% plus of our MLAs read Slugger…..yet none of them seem to have noticed that the IRA still exists despite assurances to the contrary.

  • Great to see how articulate and able she is now.

    granni trixie

    I would endorse that, she came across as an impressive woman.

  • granni trixie

    I completely agree with you people were terrified of the consequences of speaking out, Helen McHendry deserves our full support, her determination has never wavered.


    If the likes of Liam Adams can demand a trial in the south Im damn sure the murderers of Jean McConville can be tried here. Any law is just a piece of paper. I do not believe the Brits would stand in the way of such a change.


    GA was a protected species and of course he will remain so as long as he is useful. I doubt he is as useful as once he was…

  • FitzjamesHorse

    pippakin..is it not that he was arrested there on a European warrant. Perhaps our new super Minister for Justice (Mr Ford)will pursue the McConville case. But somehow I doubt it ….if he does that then he is out of the job he craved.
    Everyone is tied into the process.

  • granni trixie

    Looks to me that in saying that she plans to take a legal case against GA, HMcK wants to get at information she cannot otherwise access, not so much as punishment. However, although her wishes are to be supported, personally I hope she could be dissuaded from that course of action as it could prolong and even extend the stage of loss she is in.

    I’ve noticed that sometimes victims of the troubles assume that if this or that happens they will get relief but at the end of the day, they still have to work through the pain or at least develop stratgegies for managing it. Or remain stuck.

  • FJH

    If the Brits can go for one brother the other one should not get too comfortable.

    granni trixie

    I think a lot of people need closure, especially the relatives of the disappeared, waiting so long for the loved one to be found, and never knowing exactly what happened. The worst legacy of the troubles, and the most shameful. Perhaps if the full truth emerges Mrs McHendry will feel able to grieve and recover. I hope so.

  • Michaelhenry

    granni trixie 9 wants to take the word of delores price next, a lady who walked out of a newry shop a few weeks back with a bottle of vodka under her armpit, i know about cheap drink now a days but delores thought that she was in a shop that give out free drink.

  • Cormac mac Art

    Good on ya, Helen. I want to be the first of all the posters here to give you a bulagh bus for speaking your truth in the face of decades of deceit. You and your entire family deserve justice. You day will come.

  • redhugh78

    doing your best to prop up the Stoops again,well at least your consistent.

  • granni trixie

    Michaelhenry: the patterns speak volumes:

    but first of all I do not require Price or Hughes to assure me that GA is in the IRA, for, to be corney, the dogs in the streets know this to be true(in West Belfast at least).

    I only wanted to draw attention to the similarity in the accounts of each to the role played by Adams,Price’s account published prior to that of Moloney’s.

    Another similarity to note is that you, like GA, offer the explanation of their accounts as down to ‘the drink’.

  • Michaelhenry

    well thats the truth granni trixie, some people could not understand the concept of being a volunteer, some turned to drink, some turned hardline during the peace, some turned to telling porkies to any one who would listen, take your pick.