Kyle Paisley… The IRA has gone away but Jean McConville’s abductors/killers may still be with us

Social share:


Michael McConville

Michael McConville


Only a few days ago, the peace process appeared to be coming apart at the seams over the controversial arrest of Gerry Adams. Accusations by republicans of “political policing” and counter-claims by unionists that Sinn Fein were “attempting to blackmail the PSNI” highlighted the fragility of the current power-sharing government which lurches from one crisis to the next.

The situation was not helped by David Cameron’s hosting the DUP at Downing Street on the night the Sinn Fein President was arrested. Although discussions on winning compensation from Libya for victims of IRA terrorism will be welcomed by those who care for victims, the meeting seemed rather ill-timed.

The failure thus far of the Prime Minister to meet Sinn Fein as a party, adds more fuel to the fire. They are partners in government with the DUP. He ought to have met them a long time ago. Although abstentionists cannot offer Mr Cameron what he hopes the DUP will offer in a hung parliament, keeping them at arm’s length will aggravate ill-feeling in the province. It gives the impression of partiality. It makes people think the current situation in Northern Ireland is of secondary importance to the Tory leader.

Nevertheless, tensions have eased – at least for the time being. The Deputy First Minister’s declaration of support for the “many progressive and open-minded elements in the new policing arrangements… who are wedded to the Peace Process and to accountable and impartial policing” was a welcome contrast to talk of a “dark side” within the PSNI. Gerry Adam’s affirmation that “the IRA is gone, finished” and that he is “resolved to build the peace” takes some heat out of the situation.

But it also bolsters republican prospects in forthcoming elections. They are maximising their support. Large numbers are attending their public rallies. Once again Sinn Fein has shown its adeptness at using difficult situations to its advantage. They are “wise as a serpent.”

However, the problem of the Disappeared remains unresolved. The McConville family’s hope for justice has been raised and dashed once more. As an organisation the IRA might have gone away, but the individuals that did Jean McConville to death are still around.

Why should the McConville family, and other victim’s families, be made to wait indefinitely for justice? Why should their heart be broken repeatedly and made “sick with deferred hope”? (Proverbs 13:12).


Social share:

About Author


  1. Samuel Devenney was assaulted when R.U.C. men ran into his home. He died on 17 July 1969. No one officer was made amenable for the assaults. An isolated historical incident? The Metropolitan Police declined a Freedom of Information request and files on the matter will remain secret until 2022.
    “…hands that shed innocent blood;
    A heart that plots wicked schemes,
    feet that run swiftly to evil…” (Proverbs 6:17 – 18).

  2. Again we have the unionist version of the truth – Jean McConville was the only victim of our troubles. Selective vision!

    Cameron met the DUP to extend the begging bowl to Libya in the hope of finding cash for victims of IRA deeds. Does he intend meeting Sinn Fein to discuss reparation to victims of his army, including undercover units, the RUC, RUC Reserve, B-Specials, PSNI, Special Branch and their undercover units?

  3. There are two key things to consider…. People and Process 1) People have been killed injured, mained both physically and mentally, for a whole lot of reasons. 2) The processes involved in the Troubles ie institutions etc often failed miserably. These are undisputable facts.

    It strikes me that any effort to find a starting place is compromised by the actions of the past. They constantly maintain a polarised society. So a key question is, do we really want to pay a price for moving on? This price could mean parking the issues on both sides. Some may find this impossible to comprehend.

    Or do we want to live in the present? The issues of the past contaminate the present too so we need to create a break somewhere so we can eventually together build a shared future.

    But the unfinished business of the past does need to be sorted out on a different platform. Victims are still looking for closure for loved ones killed, and people are looking for justice. Until a society that has a common platform agreed of what justice is, I doubt if this constant battle between factions will ever end. So There needs to be an enlightened process where people and process can therapeutically heal our society and its broken hearts. And there may well be a need for one that deals with the responsibilities of what happened in the past – that process will be one of constant attributation and recrimination – it will be hot and heavy.

    The Disappeared issue is the most painful issue to work with. There are many complex emotions involved. So we then have to acknowledge that this from a healing perspective will take time. But looking at process, it could be argued that information, policies, actions etc should all be accountable as a matter of truth. Nothing should be buried in secrecy for decades as A de Brún says, if there is great pain around it, whatever the source of it or community allegiance. Basically, it may therefore be that we need a couple of parallel processes running that don’t get tangled up, The theory being that one addresses the pains of the past, the other the justice system of the present.

Leave A Reply