Fulfil Billy McConville's dying wish and compensate abuse victims, says brother

A brother of abuse victims campaigner Billy McConville has urged politicians in the North to fulfil his dying wish and compensate those who suffered.

Mr McConville, 50, died at the weekend after a battle with cancer. He was the son of IRA 'Disappeared' murder victim Jean McConville.

After her killing in 1972, he was placed in residential care at Rubane House in Co Down, run by brothers from the De La Salle religious order. Mr McConville claimed he suffered sexual and physical harm in their care.

He appeared before a Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) public inquiry in 2014 to detail his experience and in the days before his death called on politicians to secure justice and compensation for abuse survivors, dragging himself from his bed to support a Belfast rally.

The inquiry has recommended compensation worth up to £100,000 for the worst affected but the payments have yet to materialise amid the ongoing political crisis at Stormont.

Ahead of his funeral in Belfast today, Mr McConville's brother Michael said: "Billy lived out his last days in a media spotlight campaigning for justice for the victims of institutional sexual and physical abuse, a cause he felt passionately about.

"When he was physically at his weakest he showed the greatest strength of character and we are proud of him for that.

"We all hope that politicians heed his dying wish that they get together to address this outstanding injustice as well as other issues affecting victims and survivors who have been pushed to the margins over many years.

"I hope everyone will understand that we as a family now need the time and space to quietly grieve for Billy. He was much loved. May he rest in peace".

Mrs McConville was abducted, shot and secretly buried by the IRA at the height of the conflict when Billy was just six.

It was one of the most notorious killings of the Troubles.

Mrs McConville was dragged from her home in Belfast's Divis flats complex by a gang of up to 12 men and women, accused of passing information to the British Army - an allegation later discredited by the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman.

She was shot in the back of the head and secretly buried 50 miles from her home, becoming one of the Disappeared victims of the Troubles.

It was not until 1999 that the IRA admitted the murder when information was passed to police in the Irish Republic.

Her remains were eventually found on Shelling Hill beach in Co Louth by a member of the public in August 2003.

Nobody has been convicted of her murder.

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