View Full Version : Jean McConville

British and Proud
03-18-2009, 10:55 PM
Jean McConville

This is a heart-wrenching tale that brought a tear to my eye the first time I read it. It comes from the Irish Independent (http://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/beaten-up-and-killed-for-one-simple-act-of-charity-519263.html). What is particularly sinister about this tale is that many believe it was Gerry Adams, leader of Sinn Fein, who ordered her execution:

Liam Collins on the appalling burden of suffering carried by the McConvilles YOU might imagine that she had suffered enough. She was 37 and her husband Arthur had died from cancer just 10 months earlier.Her eldest daughter was in Muckamore Abbey (a home for the mentally retarded), and her eldest son Robert, 17, was interned on the prison ship Maidstone, docked in Belfast harbour.

Jean McConville was 20 when she first met Arthur in Belfast. It was not a time of plenty, but it was a time of peace. He was Catholic, a British Army squaddie. She was a Protestant girl from working-class East Belfast. She changed her religion and began producing children.

In early 1973, when the world first heard about Jean McConville, her daughter Anne was 19; Robert, the internee, was 17; Arthur was 16; Helen was 15; Agnes 13; Micky 11; Thomas 8; Suzanne 7; Billy and Jim, the twins, were six years old.

The Troubles came to Belfast in 1969 and the ethnic cleansing began. There was no place for Catholics especially a Protestant who had `turned' in those mean streets, and so the couple and their little children grabbed what they could before their home went up in flames.

They spent some time in a refugee centre before the British Army came in and erected the so-called Peace Line. They then moved into a new home, a little house in St Jude's Walk part of the notorious Divis complex, overlooked by the appalling high-rise Divis Flats.

You might think Jean McConville and her family had suffered enough. But Arthur was diagnosed with cancer and in the February of that year, 1972, he died. Robert was already in prison. Anne was in a home. Billy, one of the twins, lost a kidney and Helen broke her leg. Jean, trying to hold it all together, suffered a mental breakdown.

But the fates weren't finished with Jean McConville. On just another brutal day in the Belfast of the Seventies, a single sniper's shot rang out from the Divis Flats, cutting down a young British soldier. As he lay bleeding on the pavement, Jean McConville came out of her house with a pillow, put it under his head and, as his life ebbed away, whispered a few prayers into the dying squaddie's ear.

But others were whispering at the sight of such common decency. Their whispering soon leeched back to the brave men of `B' Company, Provisional Irish Republican Army, Belfast, a group of notorious killers living in the twisted reign of terror of 1972.

Everybody had suffered enough. But not Jean McConville or so some people thought. They daubed `Brit Lover' in red paint on the front door of her home and then, on the bitterly cold night of December 6, things took a sinister turn.

A woman lured her into a car, where she was pushed to the floor and taken to a house on the Glen Road.

They held her for four hours and beat her, claiming she was an informer, but that was nonsense. She was found by the Army, wandering barefoot and confused. It was freezing cold. The Army took her to the barracks in Albert Street and tried to make some sense out of what had happened.

"They came and asked me to collect her. When I got to the door of the barracks I could hear her screaming, but she insisted on coming back to look after us,'' recalls her daughter Helen.

The following evening Jean McConville was still sore from her ordeal.

Looking at her photograph now, you know that she had suffered enough. In the grainy black-and-white snap of 1972, she looks 20 years older than 37. But some people are never satisfied. Certainly not the bitter men of `B' Company.

Shortly after Helen left eight men and four women descended on the house. "They dragged her from the bathroom. They said they were only taking her for a few hours. My elder brother Arthur followed them down to a waiting car. One of the men pulled a gun and put it to his head and told him to f**k off,'' says Helen. "They had been wearing masks, but they took them off outside. Arthur knew who some of them were, but he has never said who and he never will, or the same might happen to him.''

For years after that, Helen would pass one of the women almost every day, but their gazes never met.

The kids waited for their mother to come home and Helen took charge of the household. They were afraid to report her missing to the RUC, so Christmas 1972 came and went. Their granny, Mary McConville, 68, came over from her house in Collingswood Walk to help out. They scraped together a few presents but it was a cold and lonely Christmas without a mother, abandoned by the community.

What happened to Jean McConville? She was taken to a house in the Beechmount area of Belfast for "interrogation''. The 'reedom fighters' put a plastic bag over the Catholic mother of 10 and began to question her. She suffered terribly until the last breath was squeezed out of her sad life.

Some time after Christmas, a man called to the McConvilles' house. He had their mother's purse, with just her three rings inside it. He told them that he knew nothing about her, that he had just been asked to return it. That was all they had left of their mother.

On January 17, 1973, with the family at the end of their tether, the young McConvilles went to the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association for help. The next day the story was in the newspapers under the heading: `Return mother, family of 10 plead'.

It makes heart-rending reading today. The IRA had murdered Jean McConville and now, in prolonging the McConvilles' agony by withholding her body, they were showing that they could control the lives and destiny of anyone who crossed them. Terrorism in its purest form.

"We daren't tell the police, because you don't do things like that around here. If we knew where to look for her, we would. No-one tells us anything,'' the then 15-year-old Helen told reporters.

But the killers had further evil intent in store for the McConvilles.

The following day "reliable sources'' in Belfast told the papers that Jean McConville was "alive and well and living in Britain''. That report (January 19, 1973) said she had been released by her IRA kidnappers, flown to Britain and was living at a "secret'' hideout in Belfast.

Jean McConville couldn't suffer any more, so for 27 years her children were made to suffer instead. You might think they had suffered enough by being taken into care and separated, even though they were assured they would be kept together. But watching the excavation of a car park in Carlingford as the gardai search for the bones of their beloved mother, their suffering continues.

When will it end?

Cenél nEógain
03-19-2009, 05:55 PM
Far from a 'Heart Wrenching Tale', this article is a collection of half truths and flat out lies. Jean McConville was supplied with a radio by the British army and began spying on the Provisional IRA reporting movements to the RUC and army. McConville was caught, taken away and given a slap on the wrist. Had she not been a single mother she would've been executed.

Within days McConville had another radio and began reporting movements again including the activities of a PIRA sniper. After that, McConville was abducted.

British and Proud
03-19-2009, 06:17 PM
From the BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/5157978.stm):

Disappeared victim 'not informer'

Jean McConville was abducted and murdered in 1972

There is no evidence that IRA murder victim Jean McConville ever passed information to the security forces, the police ombudsman has said.

Mrs McConville was abducted, murdered and secretly buried in 1972.

In 1999, the IRA admitted they had killed the mother of 10 and several other of the "Disappeared", but alleged some of them had been informants.

Nuala O'Loan said her investigators found no evidence that Mrs McConville had ever been an informant.

Mrs McConville, who was a widow, was killed after she went to the aid of a fatally wounded British soldier outside her home in west Belfast's Divis flats.

Her remains were finally found at Shelling Hill beach in County Louth in the Irish Republic in August 2003.

Mrs McConville's daughter, Helen McKendry, said the ombudsman had confirmed what the family had always known - that their mother was an innocent woman.

"Now I would like the IRA to come out and say they killed an innocent woman and apologise the right way, instead of hiding behind excuses," Mrs McKendry said.

"I know, and so does the rest of the family, that my mother was completely innocent. She would have known nothing about the IRA back in '72 and it never made sense why they went out and killed her."

The article continues:

The police ombudsman's office carried out an investigation into a complaint from some members of the McConville family in relation to the police investigation of the death.

Mrs O'Loan said it was not her normal role to confirm or deny the identity of people working as agents for the security services.

"However, this situation is unique. Jean McConville left an orphaned family, the youngest of whom were six-year-old boys," she said.

"The family have suffered extensively over the years, as we all know, and that suffering has only been made worse by allegations that their mother was an informant.

"As part of our investigation we have looked very extensively at all the intelligence available at the time.

"There is no evidence that Mrs McConville gave information to the police, the military or the security service," Mrs O'Loan said.

The truth is she was killed because she was a Protestant who converted to Catholicism and thus was always suspected of 'spying for the enemy', and of course the fact that she comforted a British soldier as he lay dying nearbyher home was the final nail in her coffin. Of course the IRA needed tio justify their actions and thus they claimed she was an informer.

Cenél nEógain
03-19-2009, 06:27 PM
Read Ed Moloneys book. She was observed following a sniper then immediately returning to converse co-ordinates with the RUC. Ed Moloney, by the way, is probably the most anti-Adams/PSF man breathing.

Edit: Even so, if this were true, which it isn't, it certainly pales in comparison with English military apparatus endorsing civilians being skinned alive in Belfast, doesn't it?

British and Proud
03-19-2009, 06:38 PM
Read Ed Moloneys book. She was observed following a sniper then immediately returning to converse co-ordinates with the RUC. Ed Moloney, by the way, is probably the most anti-Adams/PSF man breathing.

Edit: Even so, if this were true, which it isn't, it certainly pales in comparison with English military apparatus endorsing civilians being skinned alive in Belfast, doesn't it?

If you believe a mother of ten, who lost her husband just a year prior to her death and had spent time in a metal breakdown would make an effective government agent, then that's up to you.

The security services have denied having any knowledge of her, additionally all this happened after she came to the aid of a dying British soldier. Face it, she was made an example of.

The Shankill Butchers, who presumably you are referring to, killed many Protestants and Martin Dillon refers to them as murderers who used the troubles as an excuse to indulge in their lust for blood. It is also believed the UVF colluded with the IRA to have him shot! Interestingly though, they drew the line atkilling women and children...

03-19-2009, 07:30 PM
Read Ed Moloneys book. She was observed following a sniper then immediately returning to converse co-ordinates with the RUC. Ed Moloney, by the way, is probably the most anti-Adams/PSF man breathing.

Edit: Even so, if this were true, which it isn't, it certainly pales in comparison with English military apparatus endorsing civilians being skinned alive in Belfast, doesn't it?

That's unverified, and she first came to the attention of the IRA for assisting a wounded British soldier who had collapsed outside of her flat. That action also made her a social pariah in the community, not that she was seen in favourable terms to begin with, being a Protestant convert to Catholicism. This talk of her status as an informant is nothing but an IRA fabrication in an effort to justify this brutal murder and defend itself from public backlash.