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Jean McConville and children.

Former IRA leader Ivor Bell to be charged in connection with Jean McConville murder

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Jean McConville and children.

A 77-year-old former commander of the IRA is to appear in a Belfast court in connection with the abduction and murder of mother of 10, Jean McConville.

Ivor Bell is to appear at Belfast Magistrates Court on Saturday to face charges of aiding and abetting her murder in 1972.

McConville is one of the most high profile of the Disappeared. The IRA didn’t acknowledge she was murdered until 1999 and her body was only found in 2003 on a remote beach in County Louth.

Bell, from West Belfast, is a former Northern Ireland commander of the IRA.

The Irish Times reports that he is also to be charged with membership of the IRA according to a statement from the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

Bell was arrested on Tuesday and questioned by detectives from the PSNI’s serious crime branch.

He was one of the most senior IRA figures in the 1970s and into the mid-1980s.

The report says the PSNI was granted additional time to question him until Friday night when police issued a statement saying a 77-year-old man would appear in court on Saturday.

The paper adds that Bell was one of the IRA leaders in Belfast during the time of McConville’s abduction in 1972.

He later became the head of the IRA’s Northern Command.

In 1972 he was part of a republican delegation which travelled to London for talks with the then Northern secretary William Whitelaw.

The delegation also included current Sinn Féin Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and the Sinn Féin president and Louth TD Gerry Adams.

The unsuccessful talks took place after the IRA negotiated a truce with the British government in July 1972. 

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