Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has been released from police custody following four days of questioning by Northern Ireland authorities. The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) had arrested Adams last Wednesday on suspicion of involvement with a 1972 murder.
In a press conference following his release Adams criticized the PSNI, suggesting that the timing of his arrest may have had something to do with impending elections in Northern Ireland. Adams also stated that while he does not dissociate himself with the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in the past, the era of the IRA is over.
“The IRA is gone,” said Adams. “It’s finished.”
Adams was arrested last week on suspicion of his involvement in the 1972 murder of Jean McConville. McConville, a woman living in Belfast, was kidnapped and murdered by the IRA for her suspected collusion with British forces. Her body was buried in County Louth. The murder was one of many on both sides of the Irish War of Independence, during which suspected informants were routinely murdered and buried in secret.
In 1999 the IRA officially claimed responsibility for McConville’s murder. The group claimed to have found a transmitter in the woman’s home, a claim contested by Northern Ireland police.
According to a BBC News report, 33 taped interviews with Adams were conducted during his four days in custody. The interviews and the McConville case have been sent to the Public Prosecution Service, but Adams’ release from police custody signals that there is not enough evidence to link the man to the McConville murder.
Though Northern Ireland has largely seen peace for over a decade now, Adams’ arrest demonstrates just how much influence the IRA and other paramilitary organizations still have over Northern Ireland politics. As the leader of Sinn Fein, Adams has been instrumental to the peace process in Northern Ireland.
Image via Sinn Fein