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Robinson appealed to McConville’s children to tell police the identities of the IRA members who stormed into their home in the Divis Flats welfare housing project just before Christmas 1972. He said Sinn Fein should encourage them to come forward, free from fear of IRA retaliation.

McKendry was not at home when her mother was abducted. Most of her younger siblings were. Her brother Michael, who was 11 at the time, recalled screaming children clinging to their mother’s legs as IRA members pulled her, tearful and wailing in fear, out the door.

He said unmasked IRA members calmed the children by calling them each by their first names and asked one of his older brothers to come with their mother outside. Once at the stairwell, he said, one IRA member stuck a gun to that boy’s head and told him to get lost.

To this day, Michael McConville said, he sees some of these IRA veterans walking down the street in Belfast. And to this day, he fears testifying against them.

“I do know the names of the people. I wouldn’t tell the police,” he told the AP at a victims’ support center in Belfast. “I knew the ones that hadn’t got masks on, they were neighbors from the area. … But everybody tells you the IRA’s gone away. They haven’t. They’re still our neighbors, and we’re still afraid of them.”

When asked whether he would accept a Sinn Fein guarantee that no IRA member would shoot him, his wife or his children, he said he couldn’t trust them.

“There’s different ways of killing people. You could be crossing the road and get knocked down,” he said. “They weren’t accountable when they killed my mother. They could kill me, or one of my loved ones, and never admit it all over again.”