Jean McConville's daughter to go head to head with Adams - McKendry vows to stop "the bearded wonder's" Louth election bid

THE eldest daughter of Jean McConville, who was murdered by the IRA in 1972, is considering running in the Louth constituency where the mother of 10 was buried.

THE eldest daughter of Jean McConville, who was murdered by the IRA in 1972, is considering running in the Louth constituency where the mother of 10 was buried.

That would put Helen McKendry head to head with Sinn Fin president Gerry Adams, who has been linked with Mrs McConville's killing in the past.

Mr Adams, who officially opened his new campaign office in Park Street last Friday, denied claims in a book published last year that he gave the order for Mrs McConville to be murdered and secretly buried.

His former IRA associate, Brendan Hughes, in his posthumously published memoir, claimed Mr Adams had given the order for her execution.

Mr Adams said this was untrue and he had "no hand or part in the killing and disappearing of Jean McConville."

Her eldest daughter, Helen McKendry, and her husband, Seamus, started the campaign that led to the IRA finally agreeing to give locations for several of the people it murdered and secretly buried during the Troubles. Nine have so far been recovered.

Seamus McKendry confirmed at the weekend to the Sunday Independent that he and his wife would like to take a stand against Mr Adams in the constituency, saying: "It is quite cynical to think he is running in the same constituency where they buried Jean.

"They probably think Louth is a safe enough seat. There are a lot of ex-Provos and OTRs (on-the-run ex-IRA members) from west Belfast who moved to Dundalk.

"Yes, we are interested in stopping the bearded wonder. Hopefully people won't be gullible enough to give him a vote."

Mr McKendry said he and his wife discussed mounting a campaign after Mr Adams announced his intention of running in Louth in place of sitting TD Arthur Morgan, who announced in November that he would not be seeking re-election.

The Sunday Independent claimed that at least one backer has expressed an interest in supporting the couple. Mr McKendry said they would need support not only with resources but also for reasons of personal security.

"You would not like to be on your own and run into Sinn Fin supporters at night," he said.

Mrs McKendry, who was left alone to look after her nine younger siblings following her mother's murder, has always rejected the IRA's claim that her mum was an informer.

In his memoir Hughes claimed a small transmitter had been found in the widow's flat in Divis Flats but no evidence was ever produced.

Mrs McKendry said her mother was abducted and murdered because she had comforted a British soldier who was shot by the IRA outside her flat. The children stayed together for six weeks after the disappearance of their mother, supported by relatives. After that they were taken into care and split up.

Mrs McConville's remains were only found in 2003, 31 years after she disappeared, at Templetown Beach.