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Last Updated: Monday, 10 July 2006, 07:41 GMT 08:41 UK
IRA 'owe McConvilles an apology'
Jean McConville was a mother of ten children
Jean McConville was abducted and murdered in 1972
The IRA owes the family of murdered Belfast woman Jean McConville an apology, SDLP leader Mark Durkan has said.

It follows a statement issued by the IRA at the weekend repeating its claim that Mrs McConville was an informer.

She was abducted, murdered and secretly buried by the IRA in 1972.

Mr Durkan said no-one would believe what was said about Mrs McConville by the IRA and that the family had suffered enough.

Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan said on Friday that she had found no evidence that Mrs McConville had passed information to the security forces.

However, the IRA later insisted a "thorough investigation" confirmed that the mother of 10 "was working as an informer for the British army".

'Confidence and comfort'

Mr Durkan told BBC News on Monday: "I think it is terrible that the IRA again are denying Jean McConville's good name.

"Having spent years denying the whereabouts of her body, having denied her the right to life, having denied her family the right to a mother... it is terrible that the McConville family have been revisited with this slur.

"But the family take great confidence and comfort from the fact that people will believe what the Police Ombudsman has said and they will not believe the self-serving version of events that has again come from the IRA."

Mr Durkan said questions "need to be asked about how the IRA think they can be so authoritative about this".

Speaking to the BBC, Mrs McConville's daughter Helen McKendry said: "I do want the IRA to admit that they killed an innocent woman. I want them to clear my mother's name.

"When you look back to 1972, where did my mother get the time to be a British agent?

Jean McConville's daughter, Helen McKendry
Helen McKendry: "I want them to clear my mother's name"

"She was on her own, she was just after losing her husband, her 17-year-old son was interned, she took a nervous breakdown and was in hospital for a few months - so where did she get the chance to be this spy?"

In 1999, the IRA admitted they had killed Mrs McConville and several other of the "Disappeared", but alleged some of them had been informers.

Mrs McConville, who was a widow, was killed after she went to the aid of a fatally wounded British soldier outside her home in west Belfast's Divis flats.

Her remains were finally found at Shelling Hill beach in County Louth in the Irish Republic in August 2003.

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05 Apr 04 |  Northern Ireland
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01 Nov 03 |  Northern Ireland

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