Sinn Féin sources last night claimed Gerry Adams had yet to be questioned on any substantially new material on the Jean McConville murder.
While declining to go on the record, sources within the party claimed there was “growing anger” in working-class areas in places such as west Belfast and Tyrone “with every passing hour” Mr Adams is being held for questioning by the PSNI.
“They want to know what is going on,” the source said, adding there is anger at what is described as the contrast between the treatment of Mr Adams and issues like the rejection by the British government of a request to hold an independent inquiry into the 1971 British army operation which left 11 people dead in Ballymurphy, west Belfast
It was further claimed that PSNI officers were going around west Belfast “rapping on doors attempting to get people to sign statements to incriminate Gerry”.
It added the PSNI was targeting people who have made public statements and allegations about Mr Adams in the past.
When asked what evidence there was for this, it was indicated that information was being passed on from people in areas such as west Belfast.
It was also claimed that the only matters being put to Mr Adams were the contents of the “Boston tapes”, the Troubles oral history project featuring figures such as the now deceased former IRA commander Brendan Hughes, as well as “newspaper cuttings going back to the 1970s” and “some of his own speeches”.
“Where is the evidence? There is no evidence,” said the source.
It is claimed the alleged lack of evidence shows there is no need to extend Mr Adams's period of detention – described as a "charade" – and proves the Sinn Féin position that the questioning is politically motivated.
When asked what “dark forces” within the PSNI might be behind what Sinn Féin is describing as Mr Adams’s politically motivated arrest, it was said these were “former RUC special branch people rehired by the PSNI” who are “bitter” and unwilling to accept the new “policing arrangements”.
It is further claimed that this alleged faction within the PSNI is close to hardline elements within the DUP and Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) parties.
“Some of the PSNI who are not part of the old guard have told Martin McGuinness there is a problem with a very reactionary element within the PSNI,” the source said.