Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams held over 1972 Jean McConville killing

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams held over 1972 Jean McConville killing

Northern Ireland police say 65-year-old man detained in investigation into one of most notorious murders of the Troubles.

Gerry Adams, the Sinn Féin leader and chief architect of the Irish republican movement’s peace strategy, has been arrested by police over a notorious Troubles murder that has haunted his political career for decades.

The veteran Sinn Féin president put himself forward for questioning by the Police Service of Northern Ireland in connection with the kidnapping, killing and secret burial of Jean McConville.

The family of the widowed mother of 10, whom the IRA “disappeared” just before Christmas 1972, welcomed the arrest and said they hoped it would lead to the whole truth ultimately being exposed about their mother’s murder.

But Sinn Féin’s deputy leader, Mary Lou McDonald, who sits alongside Adams in the Irish parliament, described the arrest of her fellow TD (MP) as politically motivated after a “concerted and malicious effort to link Gerry Adams to this case for considerable time”.

A spokesman for the Northern Ireland Office rejected the suggestion that the arrest was politically motivated. The spokesman said: “This is entirely an operational matter for the PSNI.”

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