Compulsory reading: Susan McKay on Jean McConville’s life and death

Anyone familiar with some of the stories of the hundreds and thousands of victims of state and paramilitary forces will understand that each has its own unique capacity to appall.

Jean McConville’s is just one of several which has refused to go away. In part because of the brutal context for the killing, and its potential political ramifications.

Today in London Review of Books the writer Susan McKay tells Mrs McConville’s story in considerable and telling detail from her first meeting with her husband.

Above all it carries the genuine flavour of paranoia and mistrust of anyone or anything vaguely reeking of ‘outsider’. First where they had lived before the Troubles in Protestant East Belfast:

Helen and some of the older children were at a neighbour’s house when they heard glass breaking and shouting. ‘They put a gun to my father’s head and they ripped his shirt off,’ she says. ‘He had a tattoo of our Lord on the cross. They said: “You Fenian bastard, you have an hour to get out.”’ By the time the children got home, their father had left for his mother’s house in Catholic West Belfast.

And later in Divis…

Jean McConville was easy to scapegoat. An outsider, she wasn’t from a family deemed ‘sound’ by republicans. She was from Protestant East Belfast, and the widow of a ‘Brit’. Rumours began to circulate. She was said to be going to army dances and passing on information about the IRA, or giving information to a Protestant relative in East Belfast to pass on to loyalist paramilitaries. She had made an enemy of one local republican family: according to Helen they tried to overcharge her when she bought a secondhand suite from them. The dogs the children had named Provie and Stickie after rival IRA factions were shoved into a rubbish chute and killed.

Mrs McConville was not the only victim of the Troubles. This constant brutality from whichever side became a daily feature of life in some of the cockpit areas of the struggle, and victimised more than the dead or injured.

As McKay’s graphic description of her final abduction demonstrates:

Jean was in the bath when the gang came. Four women and eight men pushed past the children and forced her to get out, put her clothes on and leave with them. All were masked except one young woman. She was a member of the local republican family Jean had fallen out with. One of the gang had a gun. Archie, who was 16, said he was going with his mother, but the gang dragged her down to a waiting van and told him to fuck off. By the time Helen returned, panicking when she saw all the people out on their balconies, her mother had gone.

All victims are and were worthy of our empathy and a place in our collective memory. That they’ve not yet been accorded such a space is one of the reason reasons for this continual disruption of the ‘way things are’ post the Belfast Agreement.

For everyone who dies and doesn’t know
The reason why, except it’s not for love.

Brian Lynch, Pity for the Wicked            

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  • Politico68

    … and so we pull at the heart strings in the hope that as a side affect we might manage to get some relief for the victims but all the time really knowing that is but a show, a circus for the vultures to thrill and delight. The vultures in the media and in government who work to try and seperate the deaths as as if there exists a heirarchy of victimhood and in finding that pinnacle of tragedy, use it to maximum effect in attempting to hang the one they hate most or loathe least.

  • Mick Fealty

    Tell me you’ve actually read it P68?

  • Charles_Gould


    Its difficult reading. Well written but difficult to read because the story is so tragic. I am on my third attempt.

  • Delphin

    Since the very existence of Sinn Féin is dependent on the maintenance of tribal boundaries, anything that points to our common humanity will be met with derision from the usual suspects.

  • Jagdip

    Jean McConville was a suspected collaborator who met her end at arguably the height of the 1969-1998 Civil War; in 1972, there were 479 killed, including the 14 “unlawful killings” on Bloody Sunday.
    Jean McConville was captured, interrogated and killed.
    That’s what happens to collaborators, suspected and actual, during wars. It’s savage and horrible, all the more so, from the distance and comfort of decades and the peace which followed the end of that civil war.
    Did Jean McConville fraternize with British soldiers or pass them information which put Republicans at risk? Who can say, but her fate is no different to that of actual or suspected collaborators in other wars. Google “collaborator” and view the resulting images – it’s ugly. It’s hardly any different to what the British, French, Germans (what some might perceive to be more “civilized” peoples than the Micks on the Republican side) did to collaborators against their interests. Yes, even that nice lady, Her Maj was head of the armed forces when her boys were doing the nasty in Kenya and Cyprus, not to mention of course, Ballymurphy and Bloody Sunday. Incongruous to think of the ermine-laced “and what do you do?” alongside the throttling of some pheasant’s neck? Incongruous also, to think of present-day besuited political leaders with blood on their hands?
    It is ignorant and disingenuous, in the extreme, for commentators in 2014 to tug at the normal emotional responses with the *unadulterated* “mother of 10”, children bawling at the killing of their mother and all the rest of the (actual) details of what was, to normal people in normal times, ghastly beyond words. Remember, she was a collaborator, suspected or actual, in the middle of a Civil War. May God rest her soul.

  • Charles_Gould

    Nuala O’Loan’s report Conclusion:


    “On the balance of probabilities I am satisfied that no investigation took place until 1995 into the disappearance of Mrs McConville. There is no evidence that Mrs McConville’s disappearance resulted in any significant response by the Royal Ulster Constabulary. Police have stated that “There isn’t a crime file that relates to Jean McConville’s abduction. There does not appear to have been an investigation”;”

    “It is clear from the files that police were aware by 2 January 1973 that Mrs McConville had disappeared. No action was taken in respect of the information received by police about Mrs McConville’s abduction.”

    “The children received no real help for a period of almost two months after Mrs McConville was abducted until February 1973 when some of the children were taken into care. ”

    “Over the years the McConville family have suffered significantly following the loss of their mother, and the fact that her abduction was not investigated. They have suffered also because, their father having died ten months previously, the family was split up and did not grow up together. The years following her abduction were extremely difficult for the children as they grew to adulthood. They have also suffered because their mother’s body was not found until 26 August 2003, despite extensive searches.”

    “There is no evidence information or intelligence of any kind which refers to or emanated from Mrs Jean McConville prior to 2 January 1973. She is not recorded as having been an agent at any time. She was an innocent woman who was abducted and murdered. ”

    Mrs Nuala O’Loan
    Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland
    18 July 2006

  • Anaximander

    A powerful article from McKay, who is an ever elegant scribe.

    Indeed, the article accurately surmises the likely train of events surrounding the victim’s murder. She had longstanding issues with her neighbours. She was suspected, rightly or wrongly, of being an informer. She was an outsider. A cold convert. Not quite an enemy, but far from a friend. After her death, neighbours did little or nothing to aid the family, most unusual for the Irish of any tribe, but somewhat understandable in an atmosphere of rampant paranoia, fear, and downright hatred. Such was 1972 Divis. When responsibility is apportioned, the term ‘neighbours’ should be borne in floodlights.

    To turn to current events, we are asked to believe by some that a man who had barely turned 24 in December 1972, and was a military neophyte, served as the général d’armée of the Belfast PIRA. Not a legion of more experienced paramilitaries. Not men with hardened experience in the British Army. Gerry Adams – Mao mark zwei.

    Adams was identified early on as a politically-minded strategist with what was considered to be unique nous, and long served the IRA in that capacity. Doubtless, this distinction, sophistry for some, reasonable for others, lies at the heart of the claim that he was allied with the PIRA, but never ”in” the PIRA.

    It’s entirely credible to suggest that Adams had nothing to do with this crime. Indeed, looking at the context and the way the Belfast PIRA operated at a localized level, and including the known neighbourhood feuds at work, it may be a good deal more than that. That the PSNI appears to be reaching out to opponents of the peace process to prove that Adams was involved in this crime is worrying. Their reputation depends on getting this exactly right. Not nearly. Not almost. Exactly.

    McKay concludes by asserting:

    “Helen McKendry believes her mother was set up by IRA women in Divis to protect one of their own who actually was an informer.”

    The key to this crime lies in the street in which it occurred. Whilst it tempts some to view Gerry Adams as an all seeing oracle, approving une vaste gamme d’opérations with the rapidity, efficiency and brutality of Bonaparte at Austerlitz, this squalid, wicked affair was more likely decided in a matter of hours in the houses adjoining the McConville residence in West Belfast. There are many questions here, but precious few answers.

    The police must be afforded the time and space to do their job impartially and effectively. The sniping from the sidelines should cease. Immediately. And Gerry Adams should be accorded the most elementary of Anglo-Saxon rights: to be presumed innocent until found guilty.

  • Mick Fealty


    That’s fine, as far as it goes. But it’s also under the terms of the peace abduction and murder. It goes without saying that IRA’s executions were extraordinarily unaccountable and should’ve treated accordingly.

  • Turgon

    One of the most tasteless pieces of whatabutery we have probably ever had on slugger and there have been more than enough competitors.

  • nilehenri

    turgon i wouldn’t say that evaluations of the information available on both sides is necessarily whataboutery.

  • GEF

    “Compulsory reading: Susan McKay on Jean McConville’s life and death”

    Thanks Mike for this info. I did not know the early life of Jean McConville in East Belfast. Thanks to Susan McKay for adding more pieces of the jigsaw on this poor woman’s life. No doubt a film will be made from Ms Mckay’s research.

  • Granni Trixie

    The response of some people above to SMcKs narrative actually makes me want to vomit. Astonishing that some are at pains to defend GA yet seeming to want to pass off this event in the troubles as almost a norm or undeserving of attention. During the troubles I believe that we became desensitised to its horrors but now it is a good thing if our capacity to feel empathy is restoring. I am also ashamed at the insensitivity of the new mural on the Falls Road.

    I particularly resent the “quotes” around the description/image representing Mrs McConville as mother of ten …mother of children whose lives we now know intertwines with the unacceptable way such children tended to be dealt with by the authorities and by local communities.

  • The one question that evolves from the SF storm is: How does Marty and Lou know for a fact that Gerry Adams was not actually involved. After all Marty had supposedly handed in his notice to the Provo HR department in Londonderry and was devoted to exclusively political activities! Lou McDonald was entering kindergarten in Dublin.

    Marty is threatening to pull the plug on the Executive on a matter that was outside his supposed sphere of knowledge. Surely he should be content to let the justice system that he supposedly helps to run do its job.

    There is also the question of the dear leader’s chronic amnesia. May be Gerry was involved and he just forgot. After all he says he has forgotten about a lot of vital details in those heady days of sectarian slaughters like Bloody Friday.

  • Charles_Gould

    Granni – well said.

  • tacapall

    Heart breaking story, how can anyone not be emotionally disturbed at what happened to Jean McConville and the turmoil her children experienced in the immediate aftermath. Some things cannot be excused no matter the circumstances and this case in particular is one of the most inhumane acts committed by the IRA it can never be justified.

    Jagdip yes collaborators faced a similar fate during most wars around the world but republicans cannot deny in this country your fate depended on who your family were and how far up the republican leadership your family members were, the man up in Antrim interrogation center knows this only too well. Its a bit far fetched to imagine a single mother of ten having the time to keep a watchful eye on the IRA and on 10 kids at the same time. Why was the evidence not produced about the radio equipment at the time, why was any of the children not shown the evidence. Jean McConville wouldn’t be the only innocent person executed for being an informer and if you consider in later years the majority of the PIRA’s internal security unit that interrogated people suspected or accused of being informers were British agents themselves it casts a doubt on the reliability of what passed for evidence by those agents and the IRA throughout the conflict.

  • Brian Walker

    Leaving aside Gerry Adam entirely, the piece of casuistry from jagdip is a classic of its kind. But It may be revealing in three ways. One, in having the merit of authenticity.

    Two, the McConville case appeals to a particular sensibility but indeed there were hundreds of other cruel murders.

    And three, her murder was part of a tradition dating back to 1920-21, see Townshend: The Republic ; The Fight for Irish Independence (Allen Lane 2013) p266;

    ..”the most careful historical analysis strongly suggests that a large proportion of those killed as spies did not give information to the authorities. They had fallen foul of the republicans for other reasons. Only one out of 22 names in the West Cork brigade’s list of “enemy agents and other suspects” reappeared on the list six months later.. The diary of a British intelligence officer in Cork indicates that none of the people accused on giving information had not in fact done so…”

  • Anaximander

    @GT. Who tried to pass it off as ”the norm”?

    The Six Counties have been sickly sectarian since James I decided to solve his problems with the Border Reivers by encouraging them to repair to Ulster after Hugh and the boys went for a Spanish suntan. The Troubles were only the latest instalment in this 400 Years War.

    The murder of Jean McConville was foul and wicked. The mini-pogrom instituted against the family in East Belfast because the father was a Catholic was only marginally less so. The Troubles brought about a horrid situation where people felt able to engage in wanton bloodthirsty behaviour, largely after the overheating pressure valve of 50 years of rampant state sectarianism was partially alleviated. What was it De Tocqueville said about autocracies being most at risk when they start to reform? It has happened the world over, and will continue to, alas. Fear breeds mistrust and mistrust breeds cruelty – on all sides.

    Whether the pursuit of GA leads to charges or not is up in the air. What is certain is that Ulster’s divisions remain raw, and real. That it why it was so grimly farcical to see Southern politicians timorously toadying to the British establishment recently and proclaiming that a fantabulous ‘new era’ has opened between Britain and Ireland. Aye. Meanwhile the Irish question remains resolutely unresolved. And British information on their forces’ involvement in multiple atrocities, including Dublin and Monaghan, stays stamped with a large ‘ACCESS DENIED’.

  • GEF

    Interesting the photo of Graffiti referring to “Boston College touts out” has been daubed on a wall in west Belfast. See further down the article included.

    Gerry Adams arrest: Rally demands Sinn Féin leader’s release

  • GEF

    Reports from Enda Kenny & politicians down south.

    Taoiseach: Gerry Adams’ arrest is nothing to do with us… or any other political party here. Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil said that Mary Lou McDonald is being completely insensitive in her comments today. ENDA KENNY HAS said that parties in the south have no connection to the arrest of Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams over the murder of Jean McConville.
    The Taoiseach has been one of a number of politicians reacting to the arrest of Adams today and was responding to claims from Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald that there is political motivation behind the arrest ahead of the elections on 23 May.”

  • Charles_Gould

    Anax: GT was referring to jagdip’s post I believe.

    Lets not be in denial of this: the relationships between London and Dublin are much better, as are relationships generally.

  • Charles_Gould
  • nilehenri


    the quality of reporting south of redline leaves a lot to be desired, a rush to be as incompetent in english as they are in gaeilge i assume.

  • Charles_Gould

    (Let me just record for the purposes of clarity that I am as appalled by jagdip’s post as anyone)

  • aquifer

    Jean McConville did not have to be a collaborator for her death to serve a purpose.

    The purpose of intimidating whole districts to allow the IRA to operate.

    Cruel, and possibly unwarranted violence possibly more effective in this regard than clinical and legitimised violence. And local open secrets are a demonstration of power both in the execution and in the concealment.

    The shattering of the family and the impact on the children all the better to enforce compliance among other parents with children.

    The earlier cruelties from the Orange side horribly ironic in their sectarian symmetry.


  • fordprefect


    I agree with you. Obviously, at the time we wouldn’t have had the phones taking pics etc. but there were film crews in the McConville’s flat. The IRA would have had cameras to take pics of the equipment they said they found in the McConvilles’ flat. But, someone took the decision to “disappear” Jean McConville. If she had have been left on the side of a road or up an entry, she would more than likely have been forgotten about by now. The “genius” that thought “disappearing” her so that there was “no claim, no blame”, was and is a f***ing wanker. I’m a Republican, and I still can’t get my head round why someone would do this.

  • ” Its a bit far fetched to imagine a single mother of ten having the time to keep a watchful eye on the IRA and on 10 kids at the same time. Why was the evidence not produced about the radio equipment at the time, why was any of the children not shown the evidence.”

    @tacapail, jagdip,

    On the other hand a single mother of ten with little income would have an excellent incentive to give information. I would like to know on what basis the Belfast IRA made its determination that she was a tout–was there a careful study of operations revealed or was it simply the word of the republican family that she ran afoul of and the fact that she was originally from East Belfast?

    Maybe if an amnesty is eventually passed a deal can be worked out with Sinn Fein being candid about the IRA’s past in exchange for the PSNI opening up RUC Special Branch and Br army records.

  • GEF

    Maybe the graffiti referring to “Boston College touts out” has a point. What if this ex IRA Chief of Staff who was court martialed in 1985 has a score to settle with GA.

    “Bell was arrested by the Police Service of Northern Ireland on 18 March 2014 for questioning in relation to the abduction and murder of Jean McConville in 1972.[13]

    Bell, aged 77, has been charged with aiding and abetting murder and membership of the IRA. He appeared in court on 22 March 2014 and was refused bail.”

  • “général d’armée of the Belfast PIRA.”


    No, considering the actual size of the IRA in Belfast at the time commanding it would be the job of a major or at most a lieutenant colonel in most regular armies and in wartime there have been 24 y.o. majors. Plus guerrilla armies or insurgents tend to promote people at younger ages based on merit and need and because they don’t have a lot of mandatory rank time for advancement.

  • There is no moral equivalence with the supposed “crimes” of British Services and that of the provos. When did the British Army in cold blood drag a mother of ten from her home in front of her screaming children and shoot her in the head from behind and then dispose of her body like a dog?

    The provos were not an army but a bunch of savages. Only fools drink Guinness in bars extolling these degenerates. This was a depressed widow trying to eke out survival for a family and not the head of MI5. The murals say more about SF voters than anything else. Hell is the right place for Bobby Sands, Brendan Hughes et al. I have no doubt that they are there.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I nominate Jagdip for the Gregory Campbell “apologizing for the murder of people even after they have been found to have had no case to answer for” award.

  • redstar2011

    I don’t think any decent human being could be anything but moved shocked and sick at how this woman met her end

    Just on a point of information- and not in anyway justifying anything- when we are told to believe the word of Hughes and Price re getting Gerry nicked, why are we then dismissing the second part of their recorded statements where they say the lady was a collaborator ???

    Either they’re liars or not

  • nilehenri

    …except there is truthfinder. the finer details may vary but the essence is the same, perhaps even worse given that it is commanded and permitted by a ruling state.

  • aquifer

    “Either they’re liars or not”

    If only the choice were that simple.

    Different parts of what they say may be serving different purposes. Some to discredit GA, some to prevent their IRA being discredited and so made obsolete. Adherents of the Irish separatist gun cult play a long game, a big part of which is managing mythology.

    A back to war faction would want to bury peaceniks while sanitising the RA record.

    And then there are personalities, who can be jealous, or feel disrespected or used. IRA members made a lot of personal sacrifices, though we may wish they had not bothered. Many could often be viewed as damaged by what they experienced.

    This is a bucket of worms, best left to people trained in the rules of evidence.

  • Anaximander

    “When did the British Army in cold blood drag a mother of ten from her home in front of her screaming children and shoot her in the head from behind and then dispose of her body like a dog?”

    They shot a 12 year old child twice in the back as she walked to school, and butchered dozens of civilians in Derry as they begged for mercy, amongst others that spring to mind. Nationalists won’t be taking any moral lessons whatsoever from the British Army or their ‘loyal’ comrades in collusion.

  • padraigseamusballing

    Jagdip, you need to pray for a soul. The individuals who have done the vile work which you wax lyrical on very rarely ever couch it in your terms. Let us hope nothing horrible ever happens to your loved ones (if any) in case the perpetrators’ comment is ‘shit happens’.

  • padraigseamusballing

    Anaximander, they shot rather than butchered and the sound of begging for mercy will have been drowned out by the sound of 7.62 gunfire. I genuinely am not trying to be flippant, but when a supposedly democraticly elected country’s armed forces assasinated peaceful protesters it isn’t necessary to turn it into a rebel song. The facts are enough.

  • Anaximander your prejudices need to be tempered with facts. There may have been innocent people killed by the British Army. However, that is not unsurprising when you place teenage boys with automatic weapons in urban environments where they are living on edge. No one can expect that will not result in occasional misjudgments.

    There is no moral equivalence with that and Darkley, Kingsmills, Enniskillen, Jean McConville etc where a group of psychopaths deliberately planned and executed the deaths of innocent civilians in the most barbaric fashion. When did the British army torture innocent Catholics with cigarette burns, hot pokers, and cement blocks on fingers? Where is the “British army’s Jean McConville?”

    The provos were no soldiers in an army – don’t make us all laugh – the only direct analogy is the guards at Auschwitz!

  • Riocard Ó Tiarnaigh

    Thanks for posting the Susan McKay piece, Mick, I read it and thought it was very good, if extremely depressing. None of us know if Jean McConville was involved with the security forces. I think the point Jagdip was making, however unpalatable if may sound, is that what happened to her, is what happens in all wars to collaborators or people accused or suspected as such. What happened to her was appalling and one can understand her family wishing to pursue her killers by any means open to them. Unfortunately the case of this poor woman has become a political football. The whole affair and the way the different parties North, South and on the other side of the Irish Sea are dealing with it is most unseemly and reflects badly on them all. I’ve met and interviewed Anthony McIntyre and I regard him very highly. I would love to see Sinn Féin destroy the cosy FF/FG/Labour cartel in the 26 Counties, but they would want to cop on to themselves. Threatening to withdraw their support for the police, if they don’t get their way, is NOT the way to make friends and influence people. I have no doubt, that there are dark forces using the McConville case in order to nobble Sinn Féin. Martin and Gerry would be better able to take these forces on, if they had’ve done more for the likes of Martin Corry and Gerry McGeough. And as for help SF were supposed going give the McCarthy sisters…. The Paul Quinn murder also springs to mind. A young fellah, every single bone in his body broken – for what? I think Mary Lou is right to stand up for Adams. Like others however she’s overshooting the mark, when she denigrates the work of McIntyre and Moloney. The Boston College project was a serious historical work in my opinion. Unfortunately the people involved were let down by the college itself and the Obama government, which could have refused to hand over the papers on the basis of national interest. The fact, that there’s damn all in the papers handed over about the McConville case, just goes to show what a wheeze the whole investigation is. Obviously the strategy is to arrest Bell and Adams and get them to rat each other out. Sinn Féin need to reach out to their disenchanted former supporters, if they hope to get out of this mess they have allowed their enemies manoeuver them into. Otherwise they’re just going to morph into FF Mark II and deserve everything that happens to them.

  • Anaximander

    @Truthfinder. I am no supporter of the PIRA or SF, for that matter, but if anything could make me want to defend them, it would be your ridiculous comments.

    “The provos were no soldiers in an army – don’t make us all laugh – the only direct analogy is the guards at Auschwitz!”

    “No one can expect that will not result in occasional misjudgments.”

    Occasional misjudgements, aye. Ballymurphy and Bloody Sunday were no doubt occasional ‘misjudgements’. The collusion with the UVF to murder 33 innocent civilians was another “occasional” misjudgement.

  • Anaximander

    So occasional that the British have slapped an embargo on information relating to it to this day.

    The Troubles were a squalid sectarian squabble where all sides engaged in heinous crimes, and all sides share responsibility for their outbreak and prolongation. Your attempt to present the British and their Unionist/Loyalist backers as honest brokers, victims of an Waffen SS-like conspiracy no less (!), fools no one.

  • Mc Slaggart


    “prejudices need to be tempered with facts”

    Please do some reading on the British army.

  • carl marks

    Your post is disgusting; every now and then I am ashamed to be a republican, reading your post was one of these times.
    Go to the library get a few books on the history of the British Empire learn something instead of sprouting propaganda.
    The IRA for the kidnapping, murder and hiding the body should receive the lions share of the guilt in this, Loyalists are not blameless they put a gun to the fathers head and drove the family from east Belfast for no other reason than they were a mixed marriage, and the state left orphaned children who had witnessed their mother taken away by masked men unsupported for months.
    If GA is charged it will be a test of SF’s commitment to the peace process and the rule of law,
    Peter Robinson now makes noises about the need to support the police, pity he and his party didn’t take that line at the beginning of the flag protests, and we hope he sticks to these fine principles during the coming marching season

  • Anaximander & McSlaggart – I suppose you both saw Elvis at mass this morning! You are classic examples of the “securocrats mentality.” If you have facts then state them with proven evidence and witnesses.

    We do know for a fact the atrocities that the provos committed. All right thinking people agree that they are equivalent to the Gestapo. Hundreds of dismembered corpses lie in graves subject to their barbarity.

    Show me the bodies of those supposedly treated the same way in the same numbers by the British Army. Please don’t trot out the collusion myths as the evidence is not there and indeed suggests the very contrary e.g. loyalist paramilitaries convicted and imprisoned on a much greater scale than republican – some collusion!

  • Comrade Stalin

    So occasional that the British have slapped an embargo on information relating to it to this day.

    That’s funny. The huge multi-million pound inquiry which found that the soldiers acted unlawfully must have been a figment of my imagination.

  • tacapall

    “Please don’t trot out the collusion myths as the evidence is not there and indeed suggests”

    “State collusion in murder is routinely alleged, often on flimsy evidence that doesn’t stand up to daylight. The public admission of “state collusion in murder” by a member of the cabinet is a rare event, to put it mildly.

    It happened on Wednesday a few minutes after most MPs filed out of the Commons chamber after prime minister’s questions, leaving the Northern Ireland secretary, Owen Paterson, to utter the chilling words”

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Truthfinder, what about the German civilians bombed during the last war by the RAF, the justification of which created a public perception post war that “justified” the equally unjustifiable the bombing campaign in Belfast during the troubles for many? Every participant is standing on moral quicksand, and no protestation of non-culpability on any side can go unchallenged for even a moment by anyone with any true moral compass. Measuring atrocity by side as you are doing is ignoring the real issue that all suffering is actually personal and becomes that detestable thing, an ideological ploy, when employed by outsiders.

  • redstar2011

    Truth finder if there wasn’t widespread loyalist collusion why did Cameron acknowledge there was and apologise for it?

    He agreed around 80% of UDA info was given to them by the security services. You seem to just ignore facts which makes your posts look a bit silly

  • Am Ghobsmacht


    As a unionist, I would ask that you stop searching for truth and please hold onto any nuggets that you may find.

    All you do is force the nationalists on this forum to dig their heels in.

    I’m well aware that I’m no poster boy for unionism but do you not understand that your high falutin’ stance is detrimental to unionism?

    Here’s a word that was once upon a time very important to some Protestants: proselytise.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Comrade Stalin

    “The huge multi-million pound inquiry ”

    What has occurred to the members of the British army who wrote or said lies to Lord Widgery?

    “SDLP MP John Hume said Lord Widgery’s conclusions were a “whitewash” and called for his resignation.

    “I think within a very short time when the independent press gets to work on what actually happened that day and examines Lord Widgery’s conclusions he’ll find himself a very embarrassed man,” Mr Hume said.”

  • Mc Slaggart


    “All right thinking people agree that they are equivalent to the Gestapo.”

    Kitchener used Concentration camps in the Second Boer War.

  • Redstar

    Forgive my English, but where did Cameron acknowledge widespread collusion within the ranks of the RUC or MI5 during the 30 years of the troubles.

    Here is what he actually said, “Addressing parliament, Cameron said that “on the balance of probability”, an officer or officers from the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) did propose Finucane as a target to loyalist terrorists.He did, however, deny there was any overarching conspiracy to use loyalists to target members of the nationalist community or active republicans.”

    A little knowledge …eh…….

    None of the whataboutery brigade have discovered the smoking gun of endemic state collusion with loyalists. At best we have a few examples of trigger happy soldiers and some alleged rogue SB and Army officers tipping an agent off about their irritation with Pat Finucane. Considering the tens of thousands of British Army officers in Ulster the evidence for the old collusion theory is a bit thin on the ground. Still when you tell a lie, why not tell a big one. As Goebbels discovered repeat a big lie enough times and eventually a large mass of the gullible will believe it.

  • redstar2011

    He apologised for ” shocking levels of collusion” including around 80% of the UDAs info coming from security forces

  • redstar2011

    With such admission/apology by your PM you are squirming badly trying to wriggle out of such admissions

  • Redstar

    He apologised for a balance of probabilities (which is not criminal proof) that in the case of Pat Finucane some rogue elements of state forces assisted the loyalists to target PF. Incidentally, the fact that he could not say beyond reasonable doubt implies that the fact was not proven. Personally I am very doubtful if the UFF needed any assistance to murder PF, as their was widespread evidence of his republican links and activities. That said, even if we accept there was some hinting of the handlers towards PF from innocent Catholic targets (you call it collusion) in this incident it is still miles away from your broad brush allegations of some systemic conspiracy.

  • redstar2011

    You’re struggling badly!!

    80%of UDAs info-pretty damning to all but the vilest loyalist murderers supporters

  • Anaximander

    “That’s funny. The huge multi-million pound inquiry which found that the soldiers acted unlawfully must have been a figment of my imagination.”

    Were 33 people killed on Bloody Sunday? Er, no.

    Has there ever been a British inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan atrocities? Over to you….

  • Cric


    That’s fine, as far as it goes. But it’s also under the terms of the peace abduction and murder. It goes without saying that IRA’s executions were extraordinarily unaccountable and should’ve treated accordingly.”

    It’s always annoyed me that if we seemingly put a state in the middle of the process the morality of murder changes. No one questions the execution of Vidkun Quisling, because a state legimitised it, McConville is morally different from Quisling, because?

    Not that I necessarily even believe the above suggestion that they are morally similar, but it makes for an interesting thought experiment trying to work out why a state sanctioned execution of a collaborator feels (innately) more moral.

  • Zig70

    Compelling story, I gave it to my teenage kids to read in the hope they get some perspective on their pampered lives. So who do we arrest now? The English for being genocidal neighbours and causing so much trouble here, the east Belfast neighbours that drove people out of their houses, the Muppet that thought it was a good idea to put an army barracks on top of flats, everyone that supported the IRA? or just the supposed gang of twelve. You could also throw the churches in, that made mixed marriages so difficult at that time. If your calling for people from only one side to be locked up, then you’re part of the cold war. A combatant in your own way.

  • Charles_Gould

    McConville family to hold a news conference in West Belfast this evening.

  • Reader

    Cric: No one questions the execution of Vidkun Quisling, because a state legimitised it, McConville is morally different from Quisling, because?
    1) McConville wasn’t a traitor, Quisling was.
    2) McConville didn’t have a trial, Quisling did.
    3) McConville wasn’t accused, let alone convicted, of having committed multiple murders and being responsible for the Final Solution being implemented in Norway. Quisling was.