New evidence surrounding the death of Jean McConville in Belfast in December 1972, shot as a British Army informer, has raised new questions about the case. The case has been one of the most controversial in the thousands of deaths connected to The Troubles.
The IRA executed McConville, a mother of ten, and her body was not found until 2003 on a County Louth beach. Her family claimed she was executed because she helped an injured British soldier.
The new book disputes that claim and says she was an informer who had a British Army transmitter in her house on two occasions.
The book also claims Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams was responsible for the murder, a claim Adams has strongly denied in the past. Now McConville's daughter says she will sue Adams in civil court.
The book 'Voices From the Grave" is compiled by journalist Ed Moloney, who has been a strong critic of Gerry Adams from tapes that senior Sinn Fein and IRA figure Brendan Hughes made for the Boston College archives with instructions they only be studied after his death. He died in 2008.
The book quotes Brendan Hughes as saying that McConville, a mother of 10 children, was interrogated and warned by the IRA after a British army transmitter was discovered in her home in west Belfast.
Hughes claimed that despite this warning, a short time afterwards another transmitter was found and it was then decided by the IRA that she would be murdered as an informer.
Hughes, known as 'the Dark' was a close confidante of Adams for many years, but Hughes disagreed with the peace process strategy and he made allegations about Adams selling out before he died.
“There was only one man who gave the order for that woman to be executed,” says Hughes. “That man is now the head of Sinn Féin. I did not give the order to execute that woman – he did. And yet he went to see her kids to promise an investigation into her death.”
“I never carried out a major operation without the okay or the order from Gerry. And for him to sit in his plush office in Westminster or Stormont or wherever and deny it, I mean it’s like Hitler denying that there was ever a Holocaust,” he added.
Sinn Fein strongly denies the allegations and point out Hughes made them before and they were refuted.
“The allegations contained in the Sunday Times are not new,” said a party spokesman. “Gerry Adams has consistently denied these. In the last years of his life Brendan Hughes was very ill and he publicly disagreed with the strategy being pursued by republicans.”
Helen McKendry, a daughter of Jean McConville says she will now take a civil case against Adams “I am now going to take a civil case against Gerry Adams. We are seeking legal advice on how to move forward . . .
“I don’t want money from Adams, I want him to admit that he ordered my mother’s murder, I just want him to tell the truth,” said McKendry yesterday.
She rejected the allegation that her mother, a Protestant who converted to Catholicism, was an informer.
“Do you think us 10 children wouldn’t have come across a transmitter in the flat; how come we didn’t find it; there was no transmitter. My mother was murdered because she went to comfort a British soldier on the street who was shot by the IRA,” she said