Gerry Adams has again refused to become involved in the public debate over the Disappeared, but has called for an international process to deal with Northern Ireland’s past.
Adams failed to make any reference to a recent documentary, a BBC / RTE production, on the case of Jean McConville, the Belfast mother of ten murdered in 1972.
A recent TV program repeated claims made by dead IRA members Dolours Price and Brendan Hughes that Adams ordered McConville’s murder in his role as an IRA commander.
Adams has consistently denied he was ever a member of the IRA and has repeatedly claimed Price and Hughes were lying when they made the claims.
Speaking on Remembrance Sunday, he made no reference to the McConville case or the claims as he called for international involvement in the latest attempts to deal with Northern Ireland’s troubled past.
Adams said: “The past cannot be an obstacle to dealing with the present or a pretext for refusing to build a new future. While republicans recognise the difficulties confronting all of us in dealing with this issue we are not daunted by it. Nor should anyone be.
“Efforts to deal with the North’s past and seek truth and reconciliation have not made the progress they should have since the Good Friday Agreement.
“Sinn Fein has proposed an independent international- based process to deal with the past. The fact is that none of the participants to the conflict can be responsible for creating such a process.
“The British government has refused, so far, to agree on any mechanism that can deal with this issue and the Irish Government has made no real effort to establish a viable truth recovery process. This is not acceptable.”
Alan Shatter, Justice Minister in the Irish government, asserts that Adams has an ‘enormous credibility gap’ around his statements on the Disappeared, according to the Irish Independent.
Shatter said: “Others will ultimately judge whether Mr Adams is telling the truth. I find the approach of Gerry Adams and Sinn Fein difficult to accept.
“There is an enormous credibility gap around Gerry Adams’s approach to this; Sinn Fein’s approach to this.”
The paper also reports that Fianna Fail deputy Willie O’Dea has backed calls for a special Dail (parliament) debate on the allegations that Adams sanctioned the McConville murder.
O’Dea said: “Some of the statements by witnesses in the documentary were very, very definitive. They were made by people who had no reason to lie about the matter.
“It’s a very, very serious matter. I can imagine what would happen if allegations of that sort were made against the leader of any other political party in the Dail - there would be screams from all sides for a debate. I would agree with the demand for the debate.”