Tributes paid to Archie McConville, son of Disappeared victim Jean McConville, following his death aged 65

The second son of Disappeared victim Jean McConville, Archie McConville, has died following a short illness aged 65.

r McConville was 16-years-old when the IRA abducted, murdered and secretly buried his mother in 1972.

A statement from Wave Trauma Centre said at the time of the abduction Mr McConville had stood outside the family flat at Divis Towers in Belfast and told he could go with his mother.

Instead a gun was pointed at his head leaving his mother forced to go alone, with her remains not discovered until 2003.

Mr McConville went on to become an active member of the Families of the Disappeared group at the Wave Trauma Centre.

Chief Executive Sandra Peake said the families were “shocked and saddened by the news of the death of their good friend Archie”.

She added: “Like other members of the McConville family, Archie had to live with the most profound trauma imaginable.

“For Archie the thought that he was the last member of the family to see their mother alive and the realisation that there was nothing he could do to prevent her being taken away was the source of a particular grief and pain that was with him every hour of his life from then on.

“Those who took Jean McConville that terrible day laid waste to an entire family”.

Despite the unimaginable trauma he suffered, Ms Peake said Mr McConville became ardent supporters of other families who lost loved ones in this “uniquely cruel way”.

“He always looked out for others and enjoyed nothing more than spending time with his brother Michael and his racing pigeons

“That brought back memories of happier times before the tragedy of 1972”.

Dympna Kerr, the sister of Columba McVeigh whose remains have still not been found nearly 50 years after his abduction and murder said Archie McConville would be “greatly missed” by her and other members of the Families of the Disappeared.

“At every Families of the Disappeared event Archie would be there to offer support to the others,” she said.

“He was a quiet man but with a dry sense of humour who enjoyed the craic and everyone who was in his company always felt better for it.

“We’re all devastated at the thought that we won’t see him again. May he rest in peace”.

Geoff Knupfer is the lead investigator with the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims Remains (ICLVR).

“Everyone at the ICLVR was saddened to learn of the death of Archie McConville,” he said.

“He regularly attended Families of the Disappeared events such as the annual Silent Walk to Parliament Buildings at Stormont.

“It was clear that the other families enjoyed his company and really appreciated his support.

“On behalf of the Commission I extend our condolences to Archie’s immediate family and the wider McConville family circle at this sad and difficult time”.

Mr McConville is now the third member of the family to die in recent years.

His younger brother Billy died from cancer in July 2017 and his sister Agnes also died from cancer in November 2019.

Archie is survived by his wife Liz and four children who were at his bedside along with other members of the McConville family when he died at home on Thursday.

His funeral is to be held in St Luke’s, Twinbrook at 1pm on Monday, followed by burial at Blaris Cemetery in Lisburn.

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