Lessons should be learned from Jean McConville case, trauma centre chief

Lessons need to be learned from the Jean McConville case, the head of Northern Ireland’s largest victims group has said.

The Wave Trauma Centre helps survivors and relatives of those killed from across the community and across Northern Ireland.

It has been supporting the children of Ms McConville.

Chief executive Sandra Peake said: “For too long this story has been hidden, that was one of the strategies adopted through the years to keep this story hidden, to hide the bodies and to ensure the stories did not come out.”

She said a public inquiry was needed because over time more information had emerged but the family still had many questions.

“They had no-one to advocate for them when they were children, the (Bell) case showed that there was information available from the church that the family had never had.”

Ms Peake said there was material held by social services but it took some time to get it.

She said: “There needs to be a full encompassing, a public inquiry should encompass all the various parties that engaged or did not engage with the family at the time.

“This is a story that should be public – for too long it was hidden.

“As a society we need to acknowledge that what happened was wrong to Jean McConville (pictured) and her children… we need to ensure that the lessons are clearly learned and nothing like this is repeated again.

“To do that there needs to be a full inquiry that provides all that information; the family should not be drip-fed information, it should come together in a comprehensive process in which they have full confidence.”

Ms Peake said time has shown that letting sleeping dogs lie did not work.

She added: “All that happens is that information comes out in different ways and all we are doing is passing it on to the next generation.

“Why continue to hand the trauma to the next generation, this is the generation that needs it addressed.

“We have done enough damage, we need to stop doing more damage and we need to have it addressed fully.”

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