In Brief

Gerry Adams arrest: victim's daughter to 'name names'

Jean McConville's daughter says she no longer fears the IRA as Sinn Fein leader remains in custody

SINN FEIN leader Gerry Adams has spent a second night in police custody in connection with the 1972 murder of Jean McConville, whose daughter has announced she is ready to name the people responsible for her mother's death.

McConville, a 37-year-old mother-of-ten, was abducted from her home in west Belfast and shot by the IRA at the height of the Troubles. Her body was not discovered until 2003.

Adams is still being questioned by Northern Ireland police after he was arrested under the Terrorism Act 2000 on Wednesday evening. Under the terms of the act, a suspect can be held for a maximum of 28 days before being charged, but police must go to court after 48 hours to seek an extension. Therefore, after 8pm tonight a judge will have to decide whether Adams can be held for any longer.

Meanwhile, McConville's daughter, Helen McKendry has told BBC's Newsnight she is "ready to name names".

McKendry was 15-years-old when her mother was taken. She was out at the shops at the time but says her brothers and sisters told her who was involved and that she has since seen those responsible on the streets of Belfast. "I do not fear the IRA anymore. I will happily give the names that I know to the police," she said last night.

Asked if she feared a reprisal, she said: "No, what are they going to do to me? They've done so much to me already in the past 42 years, what are they going to do? Come and put a bullet in my head? Well, they know where I live."

McKendry's comments were in contrast to those of her brother Michael McConville, who said earlier in the day that he was concerned about the consequences for his family if he named names. "Everybody thinks that the IRA has gone away but they have not. If we tell we will be shot," he said.

Prime Minister David Cameron and Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson have rejected suggestions from Sinn Fein that Adams's arrest was politically motivated.

Gerry Adams: Sinn Fein claims arrest is politically motivated

1 May

SINN FEIN has condemned the arrest of leader Gerry Adams in connection with the 1972 murder of Jean McConville, one of the most notorious killings of The Troubles, claiming the timing is politically motivated.

Former IRA members have claimed Adams directed the murder of McConville, a 37-year-old mother-of-ten who was abducted from her home in west Belfast and shot by the IRA after being wrongly accused of being an informer. She became one of the so-called "disappeared" victims of the terrorists and her body was not discovered until 2003.

Adams, who has repeatedly denied any involvement in the murder, presented himself to police yesterday evening and was arrested.

In a statement, he rejected what he called the "well publicised, malicious allegations" that had been made against him, while Sinn Fein suggested the timing of the arrest was designed to damage the party three weeks ahead of the European and local government elections. One party colleague Alex Maskey told BBC Newsnight there was a negative "political agenda" behind the arrest.

However, The Guardian says that any decision to charge Adams would be taken by Barra McGrory QC, the director of public prosecutions in Northern Ireland, who has acted on behalf of Sinn Fein in the past and who has a reputation for being "scrupulously fair".

McConville's children have welcomed the arrest, with her son Michael saying they were all "just glad to see the Police Service of Northern Ireland doing their job".

Jon Tonge, a British and Irish politics professor at the University of Liverpool, told BBC Breakfast today that Adams's arrest is "another example of how the past has continued to affect the present in Northern Ireland".

The Daily Telegraph warns that the move could even threaten the Northern Ireland peace process, in which the Sinn Fein leader has been a central figure.

However, Jeffrey Donaldson, a Democratic Unionist MP, says "no one is above the law regardless of their position" and that the peace process should be "strong enough to continue".

He adds: "There is no reason why Northern Ireland should be dragged back to the dark days of the past because of the wrongdoings of some."

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