Belfast Telegraph

Provo victim Jean's family hit back

By Marie Foy
27 January 2005

The family of IRA murder victim Jean McConville today hit back at claims that her killing was not a crime.

The family said they were sickened and devastated over controversial remarks made by Sinn Fein chairman Mitchel McLaughlin.

The McConvilles said that the endorsement of his comments from other members of Sinn Fein had added immensely to their pain.

Mrs McConville, a mother of ten, was abducted from her west Belfast home in December 1972 and killed by the IRA. Her body was missing for 31 years.

Speaking on behalf of her family, Michael McConville said: "To leave a family of ten without a mother was morally wrong and can only be viewed as a criminal act of the worst kind.

"When our mother was taken we were left orphaned and our family ripped apart as we were all put into care. We grew up not knowing each other.

"Her murder was denied and her body secretly buried and yet this is not viewed by Sinn Fein as a crime.

"What happened to our mother was inhuman, just like all those named as 'the disappeared' that were treated in the same way.

"Their families were left with years of uncertainty dealing with the pain and grief of not knowing what happened and where their loved ones remains rest."

He called on Mr McLaughlin to resign and said those who supported him should "hang their heads in shame".

"Our mother was an innocent woman who was killed for her compassion and kindness," he said.

"For so long we have sought to have closure and a grave to go to. All we want now is the wrong to be acknowledged and for our mother's name to be cleared so that she might rest in peace."

Mitchel McLaughlin controversially claimed the use of an IRA court martial to sentence Mrs McConville to death meant the killing was not a crime.

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