The Edge of England's Sword: Remember Jean McConville

As efforts are made to identify the body found in Shelling Beach, Ireland of a person obviously killed by a bullet to the back of the head, the usual bickering of Ulster politics continues. It seems likely that the body is that of Jean McConville, one of the better known victims of terrorism in Northern Ireland. Sinn Fein/IRA, who murdered her, is now jumping into the fray, claiming the credit for helping locate her body, a claim strongly disputed by the Irish government.

The circumstances of Jean McConville's death are certainly an insight into the grim realities of the IRA's struggle. A Catholic mother of ten, she was in 1972 confronted at her door by a wounded British soldier who had been shot by IRA terrorists. McConville took him into her home and cushioned his head as he died. As small and natural a gesture as this would be in a part of the world less plagued by terrorism, that she did what she could for a dying man crying for his mother was not just compassionate but immensely brave, for she will have known how much the IRA frowned upon anyone from 'their' side who aided the enemy. She hasn't been seen in thirty-one years, and in the 1990s Sinn Fein/IRA finally admitted its responsibility for her murder.

I hope that this body is hers, and that for her family's sake Jean McConville can now at least be given a proper burial. She showed true courage in the face of terrorist evil and eventually paid the ultimate price for her decency. McConville's manner of death and her bravery and compassion in life are powerful testaments to IRA cowardice and to the moral superiority of freedom loving people. She must not be forgotten once she is buried.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson at September 1, 2003