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Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams (left) says arrest was politically motivated by enemies of the peace process. Photo by: Getty

Gerry Adams slams Boston College tapes project after his release

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Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams (left) says arrest was politically motivated by enemies of the peace process. Photo by: Getty

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has maintained his innocence in the Jean McConville murder case, but fears he could be re-arrested.

He was speaking at a press conference after being released by the Police Service of Northern Ireland after five days of interrogation

He revealed that the police investigation focused on the Boston College tapes.

“Much of the interrogations concerned the so-called Belfast Project conceived by Paul Bew, University lecturer and a former advisor to former Unionist leader David Trimble, and run by Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre as part of Boston College.

"Both Moloney and McIntyre are opponents of the Sinn Féin leadership and our peace strategy and have interviewed former republicans who are also hostile to me and other Sinn Féin leaders.

"These former republicans have accused us of betrayal and sell-out and have said we should be shot because of our support for the Good Friday Agreement and policing.

"The allegation of conspiracy in the killing of Mrs McConville is based almost exclusively on hearsay from unnamed alleged Boston College interviewees but mainly from Dolours Price and Brendan Hughes.

"Other anonymous alleged Belfast Project interviewees were identified only by a letter of the alphabet, eg interview R or Y.

"One of these is claimed by the PSNI to be Ivor Bell, although the interrogators told me he has denied the allegations.”

Speaking to the world's media after his release from an Antrim police station, Adams was also critical of the timing of his detention, saying that the Boston Tapes were a key part of police questioning and said the IRA is ‘finished.’

He reiterated his commitment to the peace process and to Republicanism and said his arrest had been aided by ‘enemies of the peace process’ at the height of an election campaign.

The County Louth deputy was released after four days of questioning having gone voluntarily to police.

On his release, Adams told the BBC: “There is a sustained, malicious and untruthful campaign alleging my involvement in the Jean McConville case.”

Confirming that a file will be sent to the Public Prosecution Service, police may yet detain Adams again in relation to the 1972 murder.

But Adams insisted at a Sinn Fein press conference that he is innocent of all charges.

He said: “I am innocent of any involvement in any conspiracy to abduct, kill or bury Jean McConville. My decision to go to the police followed a spate of media speculation which was part of a sustained, malicious, untruthful and sinister campaign against me.

“I make the case that those who authorised my arrest and detention could have done it differently.

“They did not have to do this in the middle of an election campaign. Remember that I contacted them two months ago.”

Adams added: “I want to make it clear that I support the PSNI, I will continue to work with others to build a genuinely civic police service.

“The old guard, which is against change, whether in the PSNI leadership, within elements of unionism or the far fringes of self-proclaimed but pseudo-republicanism, they can’t win.”

Adams told the conference that he remains a committed Republican, but added that the IRA’s time has come and gone.

He said: “I have never dissociated myself from the IRA and I never will. But I am glad that I and others have created a peaceful and democratic way forward for everyone. The IRA is gone; it is finished.”

He also confirmed that much of the police questioning centered on the so-called Boston Tapes made at Boston College in the US.

The Sinn Féin leader said police officers conducted 33 taped interviews. They presented him with old photographs of himself and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and with interviews conducted by people who were "enemies of the peace process."

He added: “I did not go to Antrim police station expecting special treatment but my arrest has sent out the “wrong signal.”

Speaking after the release of Adams, Jean McConville’s son Michael said the family would continue to seek justice for the murdered mother of ten.

Michael told reporters: “The McConville family is going to stay to the bitter end until we get justice.

“These have been quite difficult days for the McConville family and they have been very stressful. We would like the people to know that the family is going to stay to the bitter end until we get justice for our mother.

“We know it is going to be a long road, but we have already been fighting for justice for 40 odd years and we are not going to stop now.”

Loyalist protestors blocked the front of the police station in Antrim ahead of the release, while there were reports of disturbances in the loyalist Sandy Row area of south Belfast on Sunday night.

Prosecution lawyers will now decide if charges are to be brought against Adams after his file was sent by the police to the Public Prosecution Service. However, experts say it is unlikely given that police were unable to gather sufficient evidence to charge him after days of interrogation.

PPS lawyers will examine the file and decide if there is enough evidence to bring any charges and what those charges would be.

Adams admitted: “For all I know I could still face charges. I say again, I am innocent of this. This was a grave injustice.

“We can’t bring Mrs McConville back but we can help the family in anyway we can.”

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