IRA help forensics expert in search for 'disappeared'

IRA members have accompanied a forensics expert to the burial site of five people the terrorist group murdered as British informers in an effort to find their remains, the Sinn Féin president said today.

IRA members have accompanied a forensics expert to the burial site of five people the terrorist group murdered as British informers in an effort to find their remains, the Sinn Féin president said today.

Gerry Adams said he was hoping for progress on the issue and had urged the Government to publish the scientist’s recommendations. The report has been with the Government since February.

IRA leaders have been criticised for failing to pinpoint the burial spots of nine so-called “Disappeared” who they abducted and killed during the Northern Ireland conflict after accusing them of passing information to the security forces.

Five bodies have still to be found.

Mr Adams said: “Over a 10-month period, the IRA accompanied the forensics expert seven times to five different sites. Specific information was provided at each site visit to the expert.

“In some cases. individuals with primary knowledge accompanied him, although that does not exist in all five cases.”

The latest success came in 2003 when the remains of a 37-year-old woman killed as an informer were discovered.

Mother-of-10 Jean McConville, discovered on Shelling Beach in County Louth, was murdered in 1972 after she went to the aid of a British soldier near her West Belfast home.

The IRA maintains that she was an informer despite Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan saying she has found no evidence that the victim passed information to the security forces.

The IRA insists that a “thorough investigation” confirms that she was handing over material to the army.

In 1999 the IRA admitted killing Mrs McConville and several others of the Disappeared but alleged that some of them had been informers.

Mr Adams added that the IRA had contacted relatives of four out of the five groups still seeking their loved ones. He said he was determined to resolve the issue, which has drawn fresh criticism for republicans.

“I wrote to Bertie Ahern on May 3rd (2006) seeking a copy of the report and I am still waiting for a response,” he added.

“He has made a number of recommendations in his report and we are hopeful that it could proceed, but the matter is with the Dublin Government.”

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