FORMER IRA chief of staff Ivor Bell was released on High Court bail today.
The 77-year-old was charged in court last Saturday with membership of a proscribed organisation and aiding and abetting in the murder of the 37-year-old mother-of-ten Jean McConville.
Bell, of Ramoan Gardens, in west Belfast was remanded in custody after a detective objected to the granting of bail saying he feared the defendant would flee the jurisdiction.
At the High Court in Belfast today, Mr Justice Reg Weir QC released Bell on two sureties of £10,000 each.
He was also ordered to report to police three times a week and surrender his passport.
The arrest and charging of Bell has now paved the way for the PSNI to arrest Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams for questioning. He has asked his solicitor to contact the PSNI to see if they want to speak to him.
At the time of her abduction and murder, Gerry Adams was the ‘Officer Commanding’ of the IRA’s Belfast Brigade.
Bell was his so-called ‘Adjutant’ who had the responsibility for all internal discipline.
Last Saturday, Bell’s solicitor Peter Corrigan said the charges against Bell were based on the Boston College tapes which interviewed former IRA men and women about their involvement in murders, shootings and bombings during the Troubles.
In November 2013, a tape from beyond grave came back to haunt Sinn Fein chief Gerry Adams over his role in ‘The Disaappeared’.
IRA Belfast commander Brendan ‘The Dark’ Hughes accused Gerry Adams on the tape of ordering the murder and secret burial of mother of ten Jean McConville in 1972.
The tape was broadcast earlier on BBC 1 Northern Ireland presented by award winning investigative reporter Darragh McIntrye.
Hughes, a former hunger striker, said the Sinn Féin president was one of the heads of a unit that kidnapped, killed and buried west Belfast woman Jean McConville.
In the recording, Hughes, who died in 2008, is heard saying: “There was only one man who gave that order for that woman to be executed – and that man is now the head of Sinn Féin.”
Hughes also says that Adams went to the McConville children after their mother was abducted and promised an internal IRA investigation.
“That man is the man who gave the order for that woman to be executed. I did not give the order to execute that woman. He did.”
Adams was challenged on the BBC’s Storyville programme over whether he was a senior Provisionals commander in Belfast at the time McConville was abducted, just before Christmas 1972.
Adams replies: “That’s not true.”
He added that he did not “shirk” his own responsibilities in the conflict and still insists he was never in the IRA.
In response to the tape, the Louth TD, accused his former friend of lying.
“Brendan is telling lies,” Adams told the programme. He adds: “I had no act or part to play in the abduction, killing or burial of Jean McConville or any of the others.”
Gerry Adams will soon will be able to put his case to PSNI detectives who are trying to catch Mrs McConville’s abductors and killers.