Hope for closure for McConville family
The remains of a woman's body, uncovered at Shelling Hill beach in
County Louth, are believed to be the remains of Jean McConville who
disappeared over 30 years ago.
The woman is one of a number of victims of the conflict in the North of
Ireland whose remains have never been recovered despite intensive
efforts to do so by the IRA and state agencies.
Two searches of nearby Templetown beach, one lasting 50 days, were
carried out during the summer of 1999 and May last year, but nothing
It is understood that the IRA carried out an exhaustive review of all
information available to it before recommending that the area of the
search should be widened at two particular locations, including the
site where Jean McConville was believed to have been buried in a
That information was passed on to the Irish government a number of
weeks ago, according to Sinn Fein.
It was revealed in Dublin on Friday that after the previous searches
were suspended Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams kept in contact with
Irish government officials. At the end of last year he met family
members representing most of the families concerned and other families
who are not part of this group.
However, the precise manner of the discovery remains unclear after
media reports claimed the body was discovered by chance by a man out
walking the beach.
It could be several weeks before the identity is confirmed. However
Michael McConville said 'judging by the items shown to us, I think it
is my mother.'
Sinn Fein Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin speaking during the week said
"It is our hope that the recovery of human remains yesterday at
Shelling beach, close to the site which was previously examined in a
bid to locate the body of Jean McConville, brings closure to the
McConville family's long search for their mother's remains.
"At this time we are mindful that the family concerned continue to
suffer great hurt and everybody's thoughts will be with them at
this difficult time. Their feelings and the feelings of other
families in similar situations should be respected by all."
Garda police said it could take between six and eight weeks to
conclusively identify the body through a DNA process, adding that the
remains may have to be sent to England.
Sinn Fein said it was mindful that the families of the six remaining
"disappeared" -- whose remains have still not been located --
continue to suffer great trauma.
He said: "Our thoughts remain with them at this difficult time.
"Their feelings should be respected by all and adding to speculation
won't ease what the families are going through."