Brendan Hughes: “I had no control over this squad. Gerry had control of this particular squad”

Peter Wilson, a 21-year-old with learning difficulties who went missing in 1973, was only added to the official list of those abducted, murdered and secretly buried by republican paramilitaries in October last year

Today, on the basis of  information described as “of good quality, it is reliable and from a good source”, the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims Remains announced details of a search for his remains.

Meanwhile, as Rusty flagged up on Sunday, tonight RTÉ will broadcast Voices From the Grave – RTÉ 1 10.15pm

A report in today’s Irish News has some quotes from the programme

“In 1973 Gerry [Adams] was OC of the Belfast brigade and I was operations manager.  We met every day,” [Brendan Hughes] says.

The murder and secret burial of mother-of-10 Jean McConville in 1972 was one of the most brutal events of the conflict.

Mr Hughes says an IRA gang called “The Unknowns” took her to her death.

“I had no control over this squad.  Gerry had control of this [particular] squad,” he says.

“I knew she was to be executed.  I didn’t know she was to be buried or ‘disappeared’ as they call it now.”

The Sinn Féin president has always denied being a member of the IRA and has dismissed allegations made by his one-time friend and comrade.

“Gerry Adams was a major, major player in the war and yet he’s standing there denying it,” Mr Hughes says.

“After I got out of jail I lived with Gerry in his house in the Glen Road.

“I trusted the man at that time.”

Mr Hughes says that on leaving prison in 1986 he found the IRA in disarray.

It was full of informers and was being “purposely run down”, he says.

“Belfast was rotten. I sat and talked to Gerry. He said I was paranoid, it wasn’t that bad, I was exaggarating,” Mr Hughes says.

As Liam Clarke noted in his review of the documentary

The last two documentaries the Sinn Féin leader has co-operated with are a far cry from the uncomfortable subjects which will be aired next Tuesday. They depicted him talking about Jesus and pursuing his hobby of growing trees from seed.

Adams should ask himself if that is an adequate response to the questions which surround him.

Donate to keep Slugger lit!

For over 20 years, Slugger has been an independent place for debate and new ideas. We have published over 40,000 posts and over one and a half million comments on the site. Each month we have over 70,000 readers. All this we have accomplished with only volunteers we have never had any paid staff.

Slugger does not receive any funding, and we respect our readers, so we will never run intrusive ads or sponsored posts. Instead, we are reader-supported. Help us keep Slugger independent by becoming a friend of Slugger.

While we run a tight ship and no one gets paid to write, we need money to help us cover our costs.

If you like what we do, we are asking you to consider giving a monthly donation of any amount, or you can give a one-off donation. Any amount is appreciated.