The New Yorker has just published a surprisingly in-depth article on Jean McConville and Irish history in the North – just in time to take advantage of the 15 minutes that most Americans devote annually to Ireland around St. Patrick’s Day. It’s brilliant timing and the article is very well done, even if it does rehash a lot of old information and it is certainly another strike at Gerry Adams and his past. It is clear yet again that this case will continue to haunt those who may be involved in it. No matter what side of the spectrum politically that you may fall on, this case was undeniably brutal. A single mother of ten, Jean McConville, was dragged out of her home at Divis Flats in front of her children, and wasn’t seen again until her body was discovered decades later. She is one of the “Disappeared” – people who were murdered by the Irish Republican Army whose bodies were never supposed to be discovered. Her story is the albatross around Gerry Adams’ neck and one that will never disappear again.
It has not been a good week for Mr. Adams. He is being hit again with the allegations of involvement in the (p)IRA that have always followed him. Between this new article, the multiple interviews in the Boston College Oral history disaster that point to his paramilitary past, and the numerous allegations about the sexual abuse some had suffered at the hands of Republicans in the kangaroo courts, he is in another publicity nightmare. There’s mounting pressure to reveal everything he knew and when he knew it about a whole lot of open cases – and he doesn’t seem able to escape any of it these days. He still remains silent on all of it – and was not interviewed by the New Yorker for this new piece, despite multiple requests from the author. He continues to claim that those who are naming him as a former Officer Commanding of the Irish Republican Army are simply enemies of the peace process, even though many of these allegations come from those he once considered close friends. This black cloud of doubt never stops following him and it doesn’t seem like it ever will.
At one point, he may have been able to just admit his involvement in the Irish Republican Army and not have it effect his mercurial rise in politics. After all, it did not adversely effect Martin McGuinness, who has risen with him. Now he may have lost that window of opportunity though, because admitting it in the midst of constant new allegations would land him in the center of multiple investigations. While everything remains hearsay and circumstantial, he has a little wiggle room, even though it must feel like that room is shrinking with every new piece.
Those pieces keep coming, including this new one from the New Yorker. It’s clear that the ghost of Jean McConville is going to haunt Gerry Adams forever, but no matter how many times they are connected, he seems to be able to weather the storm…so far.