‘Gerry Adams warned me not to say who killed my mother’: Jean McConville’s son

Tom McTague — Daily Mail May 5, 2014

Sinn Fein boss Gerry Adams warned the son of IRA victim Jean McConville that he faced a ‘backlash’ if he revealed who killed his mother, it was claimed this morning.

Michael McConville said he took the Republican leader’s warning as a ‘threat’ and backed off.

Mr Adam’s allegedly made the veiled warning as a report was being drawn up into claims Mrs McConville was an informer for the British government.

The Sinn Fein chief had brokered a series of meetings between Mr McConville and members of the IRA in a bid to discover the truth.

The report was being drawn up by Northern Ireland’s then police ombudsman, Nuala O’Loan.

This morning Mr McConville said: ‘I asked the IRA if Nuala O’Loan came out and made her statement clear that my mother wasn’t an informant would they come out and apologise for the murder of our mother.

‘They turned around and says “no they won’t” and they’d be making a statement saying that “your mother was an informant”.

‘I says to them “well, if that’s the case I’ll be releasing the names into the public for the people that came and took our mother that night”.’

Mr McConville, speaking to the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, added: ‘When I was having these meetings Gerry Adams used to get the meetings called.’

He said he used to tell Mr Adams what had happened in the meetings and warned him that he would release the names of those involved if Ms O’Loan’s report was disputed.

McConville's children at press conference Sunday. Michael McConville is far right. Click to enlarge

Mr McConville added: ‘Gerry Adams says to me “Michael, you are getting a letter of support from the Republican people”. He says “if you release the names I hope you are ready for the backlash”. I took it as a threat.’

The bombshell claim came Mr Adams was released from custody last night.

Adams walked free after four nights in police custody, blaming his arrest over the notorious murder of the mother of ten on ‘sinister’ British forces and a ‘sustained, malicious, untruthful campaign’.

The Sinn Fein leader insisted he had been falsely accused of ordering the murder of the widowed mother, who was dragged screaming from her home in front of her children in 1972.

But Mr McConville said he would continue to fight for justice for his mother.

He said: ‘We are calling for this case to be taken out of Northern Ireland and an independent body to look at it so the McConville family gets justice for its mother because we don’t think we can get justice for our mother the way things are happening in this country.’

Mr McConville also revealed that he was ‘disappointed’ that Adams had been released.

He said: ‘We thought we were going to get Gerry Adams brought to court.’

Adams was defended by his Sinn Féin ally Gerry Kelly. The Northern Ireland politician said: ‘Gerry Adams has tried his best to help the McConville family… and continues to try.’

It came after Adams said on Sunday night that he would not allow the ‘dark side of the British system’ to derail the peace process.

And he even complained that the food he was given in custody had been ‘inedible’, adding: ‘I didn’t eat for the first number of days because it wasn’t up to it.’

The threat of charges over the murder of Mrs McConville still hang over the Sinn Fein leader.

He also faces possible prosecution for alleged membership of the IRA after being quizzed by detectives over his suspected role in the terrorist network at the height of the Troubles.

Loyalist protesters outside Antrim police station where Adams was questioned. Click to enlarge

Michael McConville, who was just 11 when he witnessed his mother being dragged away to her death, said: ‘The McConville family is going to stay to the bitter end until we get justice.

‘We know it is going to be a long road. But we have already been fighting for justice for 40 years and we are not going to stop now.’

Adams’ release from Antrim police station was met with dramatic scenes as Loyalists blocked the road outside with a sit-down protest.

Riot police were drafted in, while Land Rovers were deployed to clear the protesters, some waving ‘Justice for Jean McConville’ placards.

The Sinn Fein leader dodged them by leaving through a side exit and later addressed a hastily arranged press conference at a south Belfast hotel.

Adams said those who authorised his arrest and detention ‘could have done it differently’.

He said: ‘They did not have to use pernicious, coercive legislation to deal with a legacy issue even one as serious as this, which I was voluntarily prepared to deal with.

‘They did not have to do this in the middle of an election campaign.’ But Adams added that he supported Northern Ireland’s police force and called for peace, saying he wanted to live in a ‘peaceful Ireland based on equality’.

He added: ‘I have never dissociated myself from the IRA and I never will. But I am glad that I and others have created a peaceful and democratic way forward for everyone. The IRA is gone, it is finished.’

Adams’ release came 96 hours after he was arrested on Wednesday night for allegedly arranging for 37-year-old Mrs McConville to be abducted and shot after she comforted a British soldier gunned down by Republicans in front of her home.

A file will now be sent to Northern Ireland’s Public Prosecution Service, which will decide whether to charge Adams. Mrs McConville’s family told the Mail they were ‘downhearted’ by the decision to free him but remained hopeful that he might yet stand trial over his alleged part in the killing.

His release comes after Northern Ireland’s first minister accused Sinn Féin of a ‘despicable, thuggish’ attempt to blackmail the police over Adams’ arrest.

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