The arrest of Ivor Bell in connection with the murder and disappearance of Jean McConville is I’m sure already releasing a flood of speculation about new pressure on Gerry Adams and is perhaps the most dramatic sign yet of a final breach between Sinn Fein and old comrades who are opposed to their current political strategy. The timing and the IRA status of the arrested man are all significant but it will take time for the exact significance to become clear. Bell’s arrest involves a close calculation of risk, or did the old godfathers make it possible some time ago? Has someone else talked and will more follow on now about other killings?
The issue is described in Ed Moloney’s Voices from the Grave based on the testimony of Brendan Hughes in the Boston college tapes ps 124 -132 e.g. p128:
On the vexed question of how decided to disappear her and why, Hughes confirmed there was a dispute between Adams and his deputy Ivor Bell over whether to hide her body or leave it in a public place, with Adams advocating her disappearance… When the Jean McConville scandal worsened in the peace –process years, Hughes confirmed, Gerry Adams attempted internally to place the blame for her disappearance on Bell…”
Moloney’s own take on the arrest will make an interesting read…
Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London