An RTE political reporter has been accused of cruelty for his email attack on the family of IRA victim Jean McConville and their campaign against Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams.
Eoin O Murchu, a political editor with Raidio na Gaeltachta who is currently recovering from a stroke, is reported to have told the McConville family to stop sending him ‘obnoxious crap’ in relation to Adams.
The McConvilles had publicly urged voters in Louth not to support Adams during his General Election campaign - before he topped the poll on Friday - and claimed he was involved in the 1972 murder of their mother Jean by the IRA.
Adams has always denied their claims, but an unrepentant O Murchu is now in hot water for his reaction to their email asking the Irish government to see if there is a case to report the Sinn Fein leader to the War Crimes Tribunal at The Hague.
A report in the Sunday Independent highlights the contents of the O Murchu reply to emails sent to his personal and RTE accounts by the McConville family.
His response has now been publicly criticized by Liam Kennedy, a professor of economics and social history at Queens University in Belfast.
"I’ve just had forwarded to me an astonishing email from within RTE, in which Helen McConville’s latest press statement is described as ‘obnoxious crap,’" he is quoted as saying by the Sunday Independent.
“This shows remarkable cruelty to someone who has suffered so much. Surely an RTE journalist should have a bit more sensitivity and human decency, irrespective of what he or she thinks about Helen McConville’s campaign.”
Contacted by the Sunday Independent, O Murchu stood by the contents of his email and again criticized the McConvilles for their campaign against Adams.
O Murchu told the paper: “I think the campaign is totally dishonest. Yes, Jean McConville was murdered in the most appalling circumstances.
“Lots of terrible things happened during the struggle but to try and blame Gerry Adams and to interfere with our political process on the basis of that is I think, quite out of court.
“That’s just a personal view. Adams should be judged on what he has to say on the economy, the political issues of the day and all these questions.”
RTE is to launch a full investigation into O Murchu’s response to the McConville email.
A statement from the station said: “It should be noted, for clarity, that Mr O Murchu is not working on RTE Raidio na Gaeltachta’s Election 2011 coverage as he is out on sick leave following a serious illness.”