herald

Friday 17 August 2018

Adams now threatens to sue us over his IRA past

GERRY Adams was today running scared after murdered Jean McConville's family accused him of dancing on their mother's grave.

For the first time, Adams has threatened to sue for defamation over claims of his IRA past.

The Sinn Fein leader has sent the threats of legal proceedings to the Herald after we highlighted the plight of the McConville family this week.

Today, Mrs Conville's family said they will not be silenced by his bully boy tactics.

Adams has been accused numerous times of being on the IRA army council and of being a senior Provo chief in the Belfast area.

But this is the first time he has threatened to sue journalists.

Herald editor Stephen Rae today said the paper was standing by its story Monday.

“This is an attempt by Gerry Adams to silence journalists during the General Election campaign. We won’t be silenced by these threats of legal action.

“Our reporters will remain on the cutting edge of campaigning journalism, standing up for the rights of victims,” said Mr Rae.

The Herald report has sparked a response from Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin, who has now called on Mr Adams to “come clean” on his IRA past.

Credibility

“He can't really talk about truth, honesty and transparency if, on a whole range of issues to do with the North and the past, he's not prepared to admit some very basic things and basic truths,” Mr Martin said.

“I mean, Martin McGuinness doesn't have a problem with admitting his membership in the past, but I think there's a huge problem for Gerry Adams in the credibility sense.”

In response Mr Adams, accused the Fianna Fail leadership of wanting to “go down in the gutter and get dirty” and engaging in a “smear campaign”.

Mother of 10 Jean McConville was kidnapped from her Belfast home and murdered by the IRA in 1972. Her body was found 31 years later in Co Louth.

Adams is widely accused of being in charge of the IRA in Belfast at the time.

Today Jean McConville’s daughter Helen McKendry (53) said the Sinn Fein leader wanted to hide from the past. Helen, a mum of five, told the Herald today that the former MP has issued legal threats in the past but it did not silence them.

“He tried that before and it didn't work. I'm not really afraid of him any more,” she said.

The Sinn Fein leader sent a letter to this paper after we published an interview with Ms McKendry in which she said Adams was “in fact dancing on Jean's grave” by running in the same constituency, Louth, where her mother's body was found in 2003.

Adams's solicitors McCartan & Burke claimed the article represented a “serious defamation” of their client who is “considering all legal remedies open to him”. Ms McKendry said today she has never personally got a legal letter from the Sinn Fein chief. However, she added: “We did a programme one time and he threatened then to sue, but it came to nothing.”

Husband Seamus (53) claimed Adams has not sued because “he is scared of us trailing him in (to court) for a civil action”. He added: “He really wishes we would go away, you know.

“We promised him many years ago we'd be a thorn in his side unless he was totally forthcoming and above board about what happened. He has never been that.”

Seamus, Helen and supporters will be handing out leaflets opposing Adams' Dail candidacy at noon on Saturday in Dundalk's Marshes shopping centre.

Adams has always denied allegations he was involved in Ms McConville's death. “I reject absolutely any accusation that I had any hand or part in the killing and disappearing of Jean McConville or in any of the other allegations that are being promoted,” he has said.

Those comments were made in response to a book based on interviews with a former IRA leader, Brendan Hughes, who died in 2008.

Hughes claimed Adams, as a senior IRA figure, ordered Jean's murder.

- Almost four out of five people don’t believe Adams, a new poll claimed.

The poll showed 78pc of respondents do not believe his denials of ever being in the IRA.

The survey also showed 71pc of voters don't trust him to run the economy.

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