Gerry Adams arrested over 1972 Jean McConville murder

Friday, May 2, 2014

Gerry Adams in 2011.
Image: Domer48.

Gerry Adams, the leader of the Irish republican party Sinn Féin, was arrested Wednesday by the Police Service of Northern Ireland as part of an investigation of the 1972 disappearance and murder of Jean McConville, a mother of ten. McConville was taken from her flat in Divis in west Belfast shortly before Christmas of 1972, then shot. The Irish Republican Army (IRA) later admitted to the abduction and killing.

A statement from the police said: "Detectives from the serious crime branch investigating the abduction and murder of Jean McConville in 1972 have arrested a 65-year-old man in Antrim. The suspect is currently being interviewed by detectives at the serious crime suite in Antrim police station."

Adams has said he is "innocent of any part" of the murder of McConville: "I believe that the killing of Jean McConville and the secret burial of her body was wrong and a grievous injustice to her and her family. Well publicised, malicious allegations have been made against me. I reject these. While I have never disassociated myself from the IRA and I never will, I am innocent of any part in the abduction, killing or burial of Mrs McConville."

Mary Lou McDonald, vice president of Sinn Féin, said the arrest was politically motivated arguing it was a "concerted and malicious effort to link Gerry Adams to this case for considerable time". The Police Service of Northern Ireland reject this claim.

The Sinn Féin leader's arrest follows the release of audio tapes held by Boston College containing oral history from former members of the republican movement including members of the IRA. A number of arrests have been made following the release of the 'Belfast Project' tapes.