Irish republican politician and Sinn Fein party president, Gerry Adams, was arrested today in connection with the 1972 murder of Jean McConville. The 65-year-old Adams was taken into custody upon turning himself in to Northern Ireland police. The Sinn Fein leader described the arrest as a voluntary interview in a statement delivered through Sinn Fein and denied any connection to McConville's murder.
"I believe that the killing of Jean McConville and the secret burial of her body was wrong and a grievous injustice to her and her family," the statement read. "Well publicised, malicious allegations have been made against me. I reject these. While I have never disassociated myself from the IRA and I never will, I am innocent of any part in the abduction, killing or burial of Mrs. McConville."
The Belfast-born McConville, accused at the time of being an informant for British security forces, was kidnapped from her home by members of the Provisional IRA, her whereabouts unknown until the discovery of her body in 2003. McConville's case had been in the news in recent years due to revelations contained within the controversial Boston College/Belfast tapes, a series of supposedly confidential interviews conducted with IRA members and British loyalists for the Belfast Project–an oral history of the 30-year-long conflict known as The Troubles.
While the tapes were supposed to remain confidential, some of the testimony became public following the death of former IRA member and interviewee Brendan Hughes in 2008. Belfast police and the British Government have made attempts to acquire the entirety of the recordings, resulting in a lengthy, and ongoing, legal battle in the US. However, following the death of another IRA interviewee, Dolours Price, last year, researchers were forced to hand over her tapes as well. The two former Provisional IRA members both implicated Adams in McConville's killing. Price also spoke on the record further about her IRA-connected activities before her death, stating, among other things, that Adams was her commanding officer in the Belfast Brigade of the Provisional IRA.
Adams, leader of the Sinn Fein party since 1983, has long denied connections to the IRA's militant Army Council.
77-year-old Ivor Bell was also arrested in March in connection to McConville's death, and has since been charged with aiding and abetting the murder. Bell's arrest was based on interviews he had given the Boston College researchers.