Northern Ireland

Jean McConville: Belfast republican Ivor Bell granted bail

Ivor Bell was granted bail and released from Maghaberry Prison on Wednesday Image copyright PAcemaker press
Image caption Ivor Bell was granted bail and released from Maghaberry Prison on Wednesday

A former IRA leader advised that the life of Disappeared victim Jean McConville should not be spared just because she was a woman, the High Court in Belfast has heard.

The widowed Belfast mother-of-10, who was one of the Disappeared, was taken from her flat by the IRA and murdered in December 1972.

Ivor Bell, 77, was arrested at his home in west Belfast last week.

He was granted bail on Wednesday.

The case against him is based on an interview he allegedly gave to researchers at Boston College in the US.

Mrs McConville, 37, was kidnapped in front of her children after being wrongly accused of being an informer.

The claim that she was an informer was dismissed after an official investigation by the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman

She was held at one or more houses before being shot and buried in secret. Her body was eventually recovered on a beach in County Louth in August 2003.

Nobody has ever been charged with her murder.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Widow Jean McConville left behind 10 children

The Disappeared are those who were abducted, murdered and secretly buried by republicans during the Troubles.

The IRA admitted in 1999 that it murdered and buried at secret locations nine of the Disappeared.

The Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains was established in 1999 by a treaty between the British and Irish governments.

It lists 16 people as "disappeared". Despite extensive searches, the remains of seven of them have not been found.

Mr Bell was part of an IRA delegation, which also included Sinn Féin's Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, that held secret talks with the British government in London in 1972.

The Boston College tapes are a series of candid, confessional interviews with former loyalist and republican paramilitaries, designed to be an oral history of the Troubles.

The paramilitaries were told the tapes would only be made public after their deaths. However, after a series of court cases in the United States, some of the content has been handed over to the authorities.

Around the BBC

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites