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Last Updated: Monday, 20 October, 2003, 17:50 GMT 18:50 UK
Body is that of 'Disappeared' victim
Police accompany a coffin being removed from the beach
Police have confirmed that the body found on a beach in the Republic of Ireland two months ago is that of IRA murder victim Jean McConville.

Mrs McConville, 37, a mother of 10 from west Belfast, was one of the so-called "Disappeared".

She was abducted and murdered by the IRA in 1972, after she went to the aid of a fatally wounded British soldier outside her front door.

She was shot and secretly buried at Shelling Hill beach in County Louth.

Her remains were discovered at the beach in August.

The confirmation of a positive identity follows a series of DNA tests in England.

It has been real hell for the whole family, these last few weeks killed us really
Michael McConville

One of Mrs McConville's sons, Michael, said he was telephoned on Monday afternoon by the Irish police.

He said it was likely to be another week before his mother's remains were released to the family for burial.

"It has been real hell for the whole family, these last few weeks killed us really," he said.

"I want a public apology from the IRA.

"They killed my mother in the wrong and then put a lot of rumours around.

"They have been messing around telling lies and it is time they told the truth."

'Healing process'

Mrs McConville's daughter Helen McKendry, who has long campaigned for the return of her mother's remains, said a huge weight had now been lifted off the family's shoulders.

"It is just starting to sink in that we will never see her again," she said.

She added that the family would not find out how Mrs McConville died until an inquest was held, possibly in January.

Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said he hoped the news would "help the healing process for the McConville family, who have endured so much pain through the loss of their mother."

Mr Ahern said he and the Irish Government wanted to offer their deepest sympathy to the family at this sad time.

In a statement at the time of the discovery of the remains, the IRA said it was hopeful this would "bring closure to the trauma and suffering endured by the McConville family".

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28 Aug 03  |  Northern Ireland
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27 Aug 03  |  Northern Ireland

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