Irish republican leader Gerry Adams freed in McConville murder case

Belfast (UK): Irish republican leader Gerry Adams has criticised the Northern Ireland police's handling of his arrest over a notorious IRA murder, saying it sent a wrong signal for the peace process that he remains "totally committed" to. "Those that authorised this (arrest) didn't make the right strategic decision," Adams said at a press conference in Belfast's Balmoral Hotel yesterday. "This is entirely a wrong signal".

Gerry Adams
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams. Pic / AFP

Adams, a key figure in the peace process, was arrested on Wednesday in connection with the death of Jean McConville, a mother-of-ten abducted from her home in 1972. The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) freed Adams at around 2200 IST after four days of questioning, but the republican leader could still face charges when a file is sent to prosecutors.

The Sinn Fein president claimed that much of the evidence presented to him came from newspaper articles, books and photos, and said the allegations against him were part of a "sustained, malicious, untruthful and sinister campaign". He claimed that the timing of his four-day detention was politically motivated with European elections due to be held later this month. "I make the case that those who authorised my arrest and detention could have done it differently, " he said, flanked by Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, the top Sinn Fein member in the power-sharing government. "They did not have to do this in the middle of an election campaign, I contacted them two months ago."

Adams explained that he voluntarily contacted police after newspaper reports linked him to the murder. He also repeated his commitment to the US-backed Good Friday accords of 1998 that largely ended three decades of sectarian violence. "There can be no going back," he insisted. "We are totally and absolutely committed to the peace process and I bear no animosity to anyone."

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