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Last Updated: Friday, 7 July 2006, 15:28 GMT 16:28 UK
Disappeared victim 'not informer'
Jean McConville was a mother of ten children
Jean McConville was abducted and murdered in 1972
There is no evidence that IRA murder victim Jean McConville ever passed information to the security forces, the police ombudsman has said.

Mrs McConville was abducted, murdered and secretly buried in 1972.

In 1999, the IRA admitted they had killed the mother of 10 and several other of the "Disappeared", but alleged some of them had been informants.

Nuala O'Loan said her investigators found no evidence that Mrs McConville had ever been an informant.

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.

Mrs McConville's daughter, Helen McKendry, said the ombudsman had confirmed what the family had always known - that their mother was an innocent woman.

Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan
Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan investigated allegations

"Now I would like the IRA to come out and say they killed an innocent woman and apologise the right way, instead of hiding behind excuses," Mrs McKendry said.

"I know, and so does the rest of the family, that my mother was completely innocent. She would have known nothing about the IRA back in '72 and it never made sense why they went out and killed her."

She said the IRA had hidden her mother's body because they had no evidence that she was an informer.

'Suffered extensively'

The police ombudsman's office carried out an investigation into a complaint from some members of the McConville family in relation to the police investigation of the death.

Mrs O'Loan said it was not her normal role to confirm or deny the identity of people working as agents for the security services.

"However, this situation is unique. Jean McConville left an orphaned family, the youngest of whom were six-year-old boys," she said.

My sole interest has been to help the family. Whatever about the circumstances surrounding Jean McConville's killing, the burial of her remains was a great injustice to the family
Gerry Adams
Sinn Fein President

"The family have suffered extensively over the years, as we all know, and that suffering has only been made worse by allegations that their mother was an informant.

"As part of our investigation we have looked very extensively at all the intelligence available at the time.

"There is no evidence that Mrs McConville gave information to the police, the military or the security service," Mrs O'Loan said.

Mrs O'Loan said she would give the family more details of the findings of her investigation in the near future and would make those details public.

The bodies of four of the Disappeared - people abducted and murdered by the IRA - have been recovered. Five more have not been found.

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said he had been "meeting with the McConville family for some time".

"My sole interest has been to help the family. Whatever about the circumstances surrounding Jean McConville's killing, the burial of her remains was a great injustice to the family."

He added: "Sinn Fein has worked hard in recent years to resolve the issue of those remains buried by the IRA and still not recovered and we continue to talk to the Irish government on this matter."

Meanwhile, the mother of Columba McVeigh who was kidnapped and murdered by the IRA in 1975, has said she feels more confident than ever that his body will be found.

Vera McVeigh was speaking after a telephone conversation with DUP leader Ian Paisley, who is taking up the case after the death of Monsignor Denis Faul.

She said they spoke and prayed together in a conversation lasting over half an hour.

Mr Paisley said: "I spoke to her on the phone today at some length and we prayed together.

"We had an exchange of views and I hope after the holiday to see her and talk further. I have some information from her which I will follow up."




SEE ALSO
Resignation call rejected
19 Jan 05 |  Northern Ireland
Family seeks IRA admission
05 Apr 04 |  Northern Ireland
Bishop's plea over victims' remains
01 Nov 03 |  Northern Ireland
Daughter will attend funeral
30 Oct 03 |  Northern Ireland

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