Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has been released from custody this evening without charge

A statement and tweet from the Police Service of Northern Ireland at 5: 42 local time said: "A 65 year old man arrested by detectives from PSNI's serious crime branch investigating the abduction and murder of Jean Mcconville in 1972 on wednesday 30 Appril has been released pending a report to the PPS.

 By releasing him however, it would seem there is no significant case against him.

Adams has been held since last Wednesday in Antrim town at a PSNI police station, and has undergone 17 hours of interrogation every day according to reports.

His arrest has caused a major issue with the peace process, with Sinn Fein saying the arrest was a political decision, one driven by anti-peace process advocates within the Northern military and police establishment.

Sinn Fein also took issue with the fact that Adams was arrested three weeks before the European and local elections in the Irish Republic, where Sinn Fein is expected to perform very well according to opinion polls.

Insiders say that the interrogation of Adams only briefly dwelt on the murder of Jean McConville, a mother of 10 who was shot and disappeared by the IRA in 1972, and that most of the interrogation seemed aimed at creating a case for IRA membership against Adams, something he has always denied.

There was also discussion that a charge of directing terrorism would be made.

The fallout from the arrest has created yet another crisis for the beleaguered peace process and seems certain to have an impact in the weeks and months ahead.