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Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness addresses a Belfast rally with a mural of Gerry Adams as the backdrop last weekend.

Once again Ireland needs Irish America’s help

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Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness addresses a Belfast rally with a mural of Gerry Adams as the backdrop last weekend.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams told the Irish Voice on Monday that most of his interrogation last week at the hands of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) in Antrim had nothing to do with the Jean McConville case, and that the interrogators were searching for evidence he was in the IRA. Adams was released from PSNI custody on Sunday.

He also said Irish American support was needed more than ever for a successful resolution of the current difficulties.

He spoke to us on Monday, saying the response he had received since his release from custody was “overwhelming.”

Adams said the entire arrest incident showed how fragile the peace was and he appealed to Irish Americans to become involved once again. “We need that intensity to make this process work,” he said.

Adams recalled a conversation recently with former Mutual of America Chairman Bill Flynn, who talked about rekindling the intensity of the ceasefire period once again. 

“That is exactly what we need. This incident proves it is still a very dangerous time,” Adams said.

As for his arrest and detention, Adams says it was all political.

“People know well what this was about,” he said.  “It was politically motivated.”

He pointed out that British Northern Secretary Theresa Villiers has now admitted she had known beforehand that he was going to be arrested.

He also said the arrest was part of a concerted effort against Sinn Fein and that other leadership figures had been targeted in recent months.  PSNI detectives who examined him were seeking any and all information, Adams related.

They started “as far back as when I was 18-months-old,” he stated, then tried to link him to membership of the IRA through articles he had written, his books and other materials.  He said he knew the interrogators would seek to drawn inferences of guilt for a judge if he remained silent, so he spoke his answers.

Adams also believes his arrest was based in large part on Sinn Fein’s agreement to sign up for the Haass Principles on how to deal with issues relating to past atrocities.

He said he believed there are forces in the British security establishment that want no part of the Haass Principles, named for former Northern Ireland Special Envoy Richard Haass from the U.S., because of what they could reveal.

In addition to calling for a new regulatory body on parades, the Haass Commission wanted an independent, empowered body to investigate major atrocities, and that the power be removed from the PSNI.

Adams said that two months ago he had gotten in touch with the PSNI concerning the McConville case because of the continued media coverage and charges thrown at him.

He said the PSNI had waited until it was close to the European elections and local elections in the Irish Republic to call him in.

The custodial staff at the detention center in Antrim treated him with respect and he had no complaints, Adams said.

On a lighter note, Adams said the only complaint he had was that he heard someone had drawn a red nose on the new mural in West Belfast which features a painting of him. 

“I was bad enough as it was,” he laughed.

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