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Monday, 30 September, 2002, 18:21 GMT 19:21 UK
Adams denies IRA book allegations
Journalist Ed Moloney publicised the book on Monday
Journalist Ed Moloney publicised the book on Monday
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has asked for legal advice following allegations made about him in a book charting the progress of the peace process.

They have been made in a new book, A Secret History of the IRA by Ed Moloney, a journalist for the Dublin-based Sunday Tribune newspaper.

In the book he alleges the west Belfast MP was a leading member of the IRA, something Mr Adams denies.

Mr Moloney also alleges it was inconceivable that he did not know about the kidnapping and murder of Belfast woman Jean McConville, one of the so-called "Disappeared."

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams has dismissed the book's allegations

Mr Moloney, who spent much of his working life as a journalist living in, and writing about Northern Ireland, researched and wrote the book during the last four years.

It alleges Gerry Adams set up two secret cells to deal with informers or other people annoying the IRA.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Moloney said: "He is denying it. That is fine. I am standing over the story.

"I am totally satisfied that the account that is in this book about the way that Jean McConville met her death is an accurate one.

"And I think it is very important that the simple fact should not be lost - two people killed Jean McConville.

"One of them was someone in the brigade staff of the IRA in Belfast who gave the order for her to be shot and disappeared."

Legal threat

The Sinn Fein president said he had asked for legal advice because he believed some of the claims to be libellous.

Old family photograph of Jean McConville and one of her children
Jean McConville was abducted and murdered by the IRA

Mr Adams said: "To be libelled, means that in some way you are seen as being disreputable by your friends and associates, so the allegation about IRA membership, that has been consistently denied, may not be the most offensive and outrageous allegation which he has made."

Asked what the most outrageous allegation was, Mr Adams said: "The whole suggestion, for instance, that I was involved in the killing, or would have known about the killing, of Jean McConville."

For the family of Mrs McConville the book's publication has also been hurtful.

The widowed mother of ten children was taken from her Divis Flats home by the IRA and murdered in December 1972.

Her body has never been found in spite of intensive searches along the County Louth coastline.


Her son-in-law, Seamus McKendry, rejected the allegation in the book that she was a spy.

"I expected Mr Moloney to get in touch with me before publication. He didn't.

IRA victim Jean McConville's daughter
Helen McKendry: "My mother was not an informer"
"It is just a regurgitation of the smear that the republican movement has been exercising for the past 30 years," he said.

"It is insulting for the family. It is hurtful, but it's nothing they haven't heard before. But it is also unsubstantiated."

Jean McConville's daughter, Helen McKendry, was the eldest of the children and insisted there was no way her mother could have been an informer.

She said: "In 1971 my father was very ill with cancer and my mother was nursing him. He died in January 1972 and a few weeks later in March my 16-year-old brother was interned.

"So for my mother to work for the British after that - I don't think so. She hardly ever left the house."

Ed Maloney's book looks at the Northern Ireland peace process, from what he says was its beginnings in 1982.

And he argues that unionists have misjudged Gerry Adams, who he said had moved the IRA from war to peace.

Meanwhile, the leader of the nationalist SDLP, Mark Durkan, said the new allegations about Gerry Adams and the IRA "raised questions about the Sinn Fein leader's credibility".

BBC NI's Tom Coulter reports:
"Ed Moloney's book says unionists have misjudged Gerry Adams who he argues has moved the IRA from war to peace"
See also:

22 May 00 | N Ireland
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09 Sep 99 | N Ireland
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