A 77-year-old man arrested in notorious IRA murder of Jean McConville

A 77-year-old former IRA commander is being questioned about the murder of Jean McConville, who was abducted, shot dead and secretly buried by the IRA more than 40 years ago. The murder of the mother of ten remains one of the most notorious of the Troubles.

The suspect was arrested at his home in the Andersonstown area of of west Belfast yesterday lunchtime and was subsequently taken to the serious crime suite at Antrim police station to be interviewed by officers belonging to the PSNI's serious crime branch.

McConville, 37, a widow and mother-of-ten, was seized from her home at Divis Flats beside the Falls Road in west Belfast and shot dead by an IRA gang in December 1972.

The Provos who kidnapped her wrongly believed she was an informant who had been passing on intelligence to the British army.

An investigation, which was later carried out by the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman, emphatically rejected the allegations.

McConville was kidnapped by up to a dozen IRA men and women and later shot in the back of the head, after which she was buried 50 miles from her home.

But the IRA did not admit her murder until 1999, when new information was passed on to the gardai. And it was another four years before her body was finally recovered from a beach in Co. Louth.

Police said they could not comment further on yesterday's arrest, but is is understood officers were acting on new information.

McConville, a Protestant who converted to Catholicism after she married a Catholic former British soldier, became one of the most high-profile cases of the so-called 'Disappeared' – the term used to describe the victims who were killed and buried in secret graves by the IRA during the Troubles.

The RTE/BBC co-produced documentary, 'The Disappeared,' connected Gerry Adams to McConville's death.

However, Sinn Fein's president has denied having anything to do with her disappearance.

It has also been alleged that the late IRA woman Dolours Price drove McConville across the border to Co. Louth, while another late republican, Pat McClure, is believed to have been in the vehicle.

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