Northern Ireland news

Jean McConville's family speak of 'bitter disappointment' after Ivor Bell cleared

Jean McConville's daughter Susan Townsley and son Michael told of the family's "bitter disappointment" outside court after veteran republican Ivor Bell was cleared. Picture by Mal McCann.

THE family of Jean McConville yesterday told of their "bitter disappointment" that evidence allegedly linking Ivor Bell to the abduction and murder of their mother cannot be used as evidence and demanded a full public inquiry.

Five of Mrs McConville's children were in court yesterday for the verdict.

Speaking outside court they said: "Throughout this we have got many doors closed on us and we have walked many a road. This is the closest that we are going to get to justice."

They also called on Louth TD Gerry Adams to support their "need and demand for a full public inquiry" into her murder and abduction at the hands of the IRA.

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The family said a full-blown public inquiry was needed because, while they "may not have got justice, we have got some truth. But this cannot finish here."

Later it read that "for 20 years the IRA denied they had anything to do with the murder and disappearance and they only admitted it when it suited them.

"She was not an informer and Gerry Adams has confirmed in court that he didn't believe that she was. She was a loving working-class widowed mother doing her best to raise ten children. They murdered her because they could."

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Gerry Adams says Jean McConville murder 'totally wrong'

Mr Bell's solicitor, Peter Corrigan, said his client had been vindicated after a five year legal battle and that the process was "fatally flawed".

In a statement the Bell family said the court "has rightly held that the Boston College Tapes are inherently unreliable. We now look forward to putting this case and its ill-founded allegations behind us."

The Public Prosecution Service defended the decision to take the case.

Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Michael Agnew, said:

 

“This case presented the PPS with a number of novel and complex legal and evidential issues. Whilst we respect the ruling of the judge we remain satisfied the proceedings were properly brought."

“The decisions taken in this case were fully in accordance with the Test for Prosecution which requires the PPS to proceed with those cases in which it is considered there is a reasonable prospect of conviction (or of a finding that a defendant unfit to be tried did the act charged against him) and in which prosecution is in the public interest.

“The PPS would like to sincerely thank the family of Mrs Jean McConville for the positive and dignified way in which they have engaged with us throughout what was no doubt a distressing time for them.”

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