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Sunday 21 September 2014

Andrew Lynch: Darkie Hughes has shown us the blood on Adams's hands ... he must go as SF leader now

The closets in Gerry Adams's house are crammed full of skeletons

Over the years the Sinn Fein leader has been constantly accused of being a liar, a terrorist and a protector of paedophiles, allegations he has chosen to either deny or ignore.

Now one of those skeletons has come tumbling out -- and crucially, the whistleblower is a man who is in a perfect position to know the truth.

Before his death in 2008, Brendan 'Darkie' Hughes gave a series of interviews about his experiences as a senior commander of the IRA in Belfast.

That material is now about to be published in a new book by journalist Ed Moloney, appropriately titled Voices From The Grave.

It contains the most convincing evidence yet that Adams has been living a lie -- and if his colleagues have any sense of shame, it should mark the end of his days as party leader.

The charges could hardly be any more damning.

Hughes claims that in 1972 Adams ordered the killing and burial of Jean McConville, a mother of 10 shot dead by the IRA. He has also suggested that Adams gave the order for the IRA to hang one of its own members in Long Kesh because the 22-year-old cracked under police questioning.

Finally Hughes boasts that he personally ran a fraudulent campaign for Adams's election as an MP, stealing thousands of votes from dead people in the process.

"I never carried out a major (IRA) operation without the okay or the order from Gerry," he is quoted as saying. "And for him to sit in his plush office in Westminster or Stormont or wherever and deny it, I mean it's like Hitler denying that there was ever a Holocaust."

Since Adams has never even admitted that he was in the IRA, unlike his right-hand man Martin McGuinness, this leaves us with two possibilities.

Either Darkie Hughes was one of the biggest fantasists who ever lived -- or the chickens have finally come home to roost.

Hughes, it's only fair to point out, is no candidate for sainthood. During his time with the IRA, he was personally responsible for the deaths of hundreds of people. He turned on Adams because he thought the peace process was a sell-out of the republican cause -- and while he was disgusted with his old boss for lying about the past, he never showed a scrap of remorse for the terrible things he did himself.

Of all the people who lost their lives in the Troubles, the story of Jean McConville is perhaps the saddest of all. She was a widow who struggled to bring up 10 children in poverty, including six-year-old twin boys. She was also a Protestant who had married a Catholic soldier, converted to his religion and lived in east Belfast until loyalist thugs intimidated the family out of their house. Somehow or other, the IRA got it into their head that she was a British informer -- a claim her family has passionately denied.

In late 1972 she was abducted by masked men and women, who delivered her to a crowd of 20 armed people wearing balaclavas. When her remains were finally discovered on Shelling Hill beach in Co Louth in 2003, they revealed that she had been executed republican-style with a bullet to the back of her head.

Adams has since claimed that he was in prison at the time of the killing, a claim that is factually inaccurate. He has also said that one of his fondest memories of prison life was singing the Monty Python song, Always Look On The Bright Side of Life -- which unfortunately was not written until after his release.

One of McConville's daughters has now announced that she will take a civil case against Gerry Adams over the murder. She does not want money from the Sinn Fein leader. She just wants him to tell the truth.

If this is too much to ask, then the least Adams could do is retire from public life -- and allow the republican movement to be led by someone who does not have blood on their hands.

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