Gerry Adams questioned over McConville murder

Sinn Féin leader being interviewed by PSNI over killing of widowed mother of 10 in 1972


The Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has been arrested in connection with the 1972 abduction, murder and disappearance of Jean McConville.

Detectives from the PSNI’s serious crime branch are questioning Mr Adams at Antrim station about the murder of the widowed mother of 10 children.

Mr Adams remained in police custody overnight following his arrest yesterday.

The PSNI press office issued a statement without naming Mr Adams saying a 65-year-old man had been arrested in connection with the murder.

A spokesman said he presented himself for questioning at Antrim station.

Around the same time a statement from Mr Adams confirmed the meeting. “Last month I said that I was available to meet the PSNI about the Jean McConville case. While I have concerns about the timing, I am voluntarily meeting with the PSNI,” said Mr Adams.

Michael McConville, son of Ms McConville, said last night he was glad the PSNI was dealing seriously with the investigation. “I am glad they are doing their job properly,” he said.

Michael McConville on Today with Sean O’Rourke

“At the end of the day all the McConville family want is justice for our mother,” added Mr McConville.

Mr Adams in his statement said that as a republican leader he had never shirked his responsibility to build the peace. “This includes dealing with the difficult issue of victims and their families. Insofar as it is possible I have worked to bring closure to victims and their families who have contacted me,” he added.

“Even though they may not agree, this includes the family of Jean McConville,” said Mr Adams.

The Sinn Féin president again denied any involvement in the murder of 37-year-old Ms McConville, one of the Disappeared, whose body was finally recovered from Shelling Hill Beach in Co Louth in 2003.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

Mr Adams added, “Sinn Féin has signed up to the Haass proposals for dealing with the past. While I also respect the right of families if they wish to seek legal redress there remains a huge onus on the two governments and the political parties to face up to all these issues and to agree a victim centred process which does this.”

In March Mr Adams said he was prepared to make himself available for questioning about Ms McConville’s killing. This followed the arrest of veteran republican Ivor Bell who was charged in connection with her murder.

Mr Adams queried the timing of the PSNI’s decision to arrest him, a point that was taken up later last night by Sinn Fein TD and deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald. “I believe the timing of this latest decision by the PSNI is politically motivated and designed to damage Gerry Adams and Sinn Féin,” she said. It comes just weeks ahead of the local and European elections.

“It is Sinn Féin’s view that legacy issues and dealing with the past, including past conflict events, are best addressed through an independent, international, truth recovery process,” Ms McDonald added.