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ireland, irish, ulster, ireland, irish, ulster, Sinn Féin, Irish America

Don't be taken in by Gerry's spin

(Suzanne Breen, Sunday Life)

So Gerry Adams says he will meet police to answer questions about Jean McConville's murder. Don't be fooled. Will he be as helpful in securing justice for Jean as he was in securing justice for his niece Aine?

The Sinn Féin president knows detectives questioning Ivor Bell were "keenly interested" in his alleged role in the murder.

The last thing he wants is the indignity of cops hammering on his door in the early hours and carting him off in dramatic circumstances.

So he's attempting to pre-empt that and take control of the situation. Far better to ask his lawyer to arrange that he drop into a PSNI station at a time of his choosing.

But however Gerry arrives at the police station, he will surely have to be arrested and interviewed under caution if the law operates as it should.

Not that his interview can be expected to reveal anything. Evasions are his trademarks. This is the man who told the McConvilles he was in prison at the time of Jean's disappearance when he wasn't.

Last week, he said he felt the family's "pain" and blamed "anti-peace process republicans" for lying about him in the Boston tapes.

How many times have we heard variations of this tale – securocrats, journalists, dissidents, conspiring against Gerry, the most victimised leader in the world?

His concern in the McConville case is to protect his image. It was the same with Aine. He was a loving uncle who had supported his niece and fully cooperated with the police against his paedophile brother, he insisted.

The facts told a different story. He didn't report Liam's rape confession to police for nine years and he never even sent Aine a birthday card.

Ivor Bell may be charged with aiding and abetting their mother's murder but it's Gerry whom the McConvilles want in the dock. That will never happen.

Bell and the six others who allegedly discussed Jean McConville's murder on tape will never corroborate their interviews. Even their loathing for Adams won't make them "turn tout in a British court".

I believe the case against Bell is weak. If a confession alone is to convict, it must be made under police caution and this didn't happen in the Boston interviews.

In 2003, loyalist Clifford McKeown was convicted of murdering Michael McGoldrick on the basis of his confession to journalist Nick Martin-Clark. But that journalist gave evidence for the prosecution whereas Boston College interviewer Anthony McIntyre won't.

If the Bell case makes it to trial, the evidence will be riveting. We'll all get to hear the Boston tapes. Once again, a court case in which he's not the accused could help us learn about the real Gerry Adams.

March 31, 2014

This article appeared in the March 30, 2014 edition of the Sunday Life.

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