Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 27 November 2014

DebateNI home of Northern Ireland politics

Gerry Adams release will not make fallout go away, you know

PACEMAKER BELFAST   04/05/2014
Sinn Fein Leader Gerry Adams and Deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald speaks at a press conference at the Balmoral Hotel in West Belfast this evening. Adams was released this evening after 4 days of questioning by the PSNI in relation to the murder of Jean McConville in 1972.  Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 04/05/2014 Sinn Fein Leader Gerry Adams and Deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald speaks at a press conference at the Balmoral Hotel in West Belfast this evening. Adams was released this evening after 4 days of questioning by the PSNI in relation to the murder of Jean McConville in 1972. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
4/5/2014. Adams Release. Dramatic scenes outside Antrim Police Station as the PSNI try to escort Sinn Fein President out of the station after they had questioned him for four day. Loyalist protesters blocked the police escort while the riot squad took up positions. Eventuall Mr. Adams was escorted to his Belfast press conference out the back door of the station. Photo Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland
PACEMAKER BELFAST 04/05/2014 Sinn Fein Leader Gerry Adams speaks at a press conference at the Balmoral Hotel in West Belfast this evening. Adams was released this evening after 4 days of questioning by the PSNI in relation to the murder of Jean McConville in 1972. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
4/5/2014. Adams Release. Dramatic scenes outside Antrim Police Station as the PSNI try to escort Sinn Fein President out of the station after they had questioned him for four day. Loyalist protesters blocked the police escort while the riot squad took up positions. Eventually Mr. Adams was escorted to his Belfast press conference out the back door of the station. Photo Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland
4/5/2014. Adams Release. Dramatic scenes outside Antrim Police Station as the PSNI try to escort Sinn Fein President out of the station after they had questioned him for four day. Loyalist protesters blocked the police escort while the riot squad took up positions. Eventually Mr. Adams was escorted to his Belfast press conference out the back door of the station. Photo Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland
4/5/2014 PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. Gerry Adams speaking to the media on being released this evening from Antrim police station this afternoon after being questioned in relation to the murder of Jean McConville. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker
4/5/2014. Adams Release. Dramatic scenes outside Antrim Police Station as the PSNI try to escort Sinn Fein President out of the station after they had questioned him for four day. Loyalist protesters blocked the police escort while the riot squad took up positions. Eventually Mr. Adams was escorted to his Belfast press conference out the back door of the station. Photo Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland
Pacemaker Press Belfast 04-05-2014: Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has been released from custody over a 1972 murder and a file will be sent to the Public Prosecution Service. Mr Adams had been questioned at Antrim PSNI Station since Wednesday, after he was arrested in connection with the IRA murder of mother of 10 Jean McConville. Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams pictured at a press conference in a belfast hotel after being released from custody in Antrim PSNI station. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
4/5/2014. Adams Release. Dramatic scenes outside Antrim Police Station as the PSNI try to escort Sinn Fein President out of the station after they had questioned him for four day. Loyalist protesters blocked the police escort while the riot squad took up positions. Eventually Mr. Adams was escorted to his Belfast press conference out the back door of the station. Photo Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland
4/5/2014. Adams Release. Dramatic scenes outside Antrim Police Station as the PSNI try to escort Sinn Fein President out of the station after they had questioned him for four day. Loyalist protesters blocked the police escort while the riot squad took up positions. Eventually Mr. Adams was escorted to his Belfast press conference out the back door of the station. Photo Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland
Pacemaker Press Belfast 04-05-2014: Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has been released from custody over a 1972 murder and a file will be sent to the Public Prosecution Service. Mr Adams had been questioned at Antrim PSNI Station since Wednesday, after he was arrested in connection with the IRA murder of mother of 10 Jean McConville. Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams pictured at a press conference in a belfast hotel after being released from custody in Antrim PSNI station. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Loyalists gather outside Antrim PSNI Station after it was announced that Sinn Fein Leader Gerry Adams was to be released without charge following questioning over the Jean McConville murder on May 4, 2014 in Antrim, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Pacemaker Press Belfast 04-05-2014: Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has been released from custody over a 1972 murder and a file will be sent to the Public Prosecution Service. Mr Adams had been questioned at Antrim PSNI Station since Wednesday, after he was arrested in connection with the IRA murder of mother of 10 Jean McConville. Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams pictured at a press conference in a belfast hotel after being released from custody in Antrim PSNI station. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th May 2014 - Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams pictured at a press conference in the Balmoral Hotel in west belfast this evening after being released from custody. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th May 2014 - Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams pictured at a press conference in the Balmoral Hotel in west belfast this evening after being released from custody. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
4/5/2014 PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. Gerry Adams gets a handshake and a thumbs up from a supporter after speaking to the media on being released this evening from Antrim police station this afternoon after being questioned in relation to the murder of Jean McConville. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th May 2014 - Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams pictured at a press conference in the Balmoral Hotel in west belfast this evening after being released from custody. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th May 2014 - Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams pictured at a press conference in the Balmoral Hotel in west belfast this evening after being released from custody. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th May 2014 - Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams pictured at a press conference in the Balmoral Hotel in west belfast this evening after being released from custody. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th May 2014 - Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams pictured at a press conference in the Balmoral Hotel in west belfast this evening after being released from custody. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th May 2014 - Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams pictured at a press conference in the Balmoral Hotel in west belfast this evening after being released from custody. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th May 2014 - Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams pictured at a press conference in the Balmoral Hotel in west belfast this evening after being released from custody. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has been released without charge following four days in custody at the Police Service of Northern Ireland's Antrim HQ
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th May 2014 - Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams pictured at a press conference in the Balmoral Hotel in west belfast this evening after being released from custody. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Michael McConville called for an independent investigation into his mother's death
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MLA addresses the ongoing detention of Sinn Féin party president, Gerry Adams TD during a press conference at the Sinn Féin offices on the Falls Road, Belfast.
Helen McKendry holding a picture of her mother
Martin McGuinness speaks to the media at Sinn Fein offices in west Belfast yesterday
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 03: Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness and Martina Anderson address a crowd gathered on the Falls Road in support of Gerry Adams on May 3, 2014 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The Sinn Fein leader has spent a third night in police custody in connection with the 1972 murder of mother-of-10 Jean McConville. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

On the Falls Road the words "touts" and "informers" were painted.

The graffiti was written on the walls to shame and to speak of betrayal and dishonour.

And inside the republican community there is nothing worse you can be accused of.

This time, it was aimed at former IRA figures who recorded tapes for the Boston College oral history project.

And it was deliberately written in several places where it would be seen and read. The graffiti was an expression of building anger.

Brendan Hughes, once part of the IRA's so-called 'D' Company in the lower Falls and its 2nd battalion stretching from Divis Street to the Whiterock, is one of those who on the Boston tapes implicated the Sinn Fein president in the Jean McConville killing.

Hughes, now dead, alleged it was Adams who gave the order to disappear the widowed mother-of-10 – something the Sinn Fein leader has repeatedly denied.

But that allegation, alongside claims made on other Boston tapes by former IRA figures, formed a substantial part of this police investigation and the questioning of the Louth TD and former West Belfast MP.

There was also what was described as "open source" material printed in books and newspapers and reading back over several decades.

This included Adams' own book Before The Dawn.

Police are also known to have sought witness statements from others who made allegations about Adams in recent media interviews.

Those requests were declined. But the interviewing approach indicated that this questioning of Adams was in a much wider frame than just the abduction, killing and disappearing of Mrs McConville.

Further reading

 

Gerry Adams mural paint-bombed - community divided over arrest 

Gerry Adams slams 'sinister, malicious, untruthful campaign' following release by police 

Gerry Adams release will not make fallout go away, you know

Gerry Adams fallout: Crisis is over for now, so let's try to rebuild peace

IRA's omerta is not as watertight as it used to be...  

Sinn Fein's reaction to Adams arrest sending wrong message

Sinn Fein will not blackmail police, warns Peter Robinson 

 

Within hours of the Sinn Fein leader's arrest, some republicans believed the police were attempting to construct an IRA membership charge. Several decades ago, a similar charge failed.

The appearance of that graffiti in parts of west Belfast coincided with Saturday's protest rally and unveiling of a new Gerry Adams mural. That gathering was designed as both a show of strength and a show of support.

Martin McGuinness and Martina Anderson were on the stage with Bobby Storey – one of the most senior figures from the IRA's 'war' years. He is big in republican stature and rank.

Among the crowd were Adams' brother Paddy and Eibhlin Glenholmes, who spent years on the run and who was once described under the banner headline Britain's Most Wanted.

Martin Lynch, Padraic Wilson and Jim McVeigh – all with past IRA credentials – were present. And so too Adams' aide Richard McAuley, Policing Board members Gerry Kelly and Pat Sheehan, the local MP Paul Maskey and ministers Caral Ni Chuilin and Jennifer McCann.

Borrowing Adams' words from a different time and a different place, Storey shouted out Sinn Fein's message to the British and Irish Governments.

To loud applause and cheers, he said: "We ain't going away you know."

But republicans know something else isn't going away – the questions that relate to that ugly chapter of the Disappeared.

Through their families, they have spoken. Not all of the bodies have been found – and this issue of the Disappeared is part of an incomplete peace. An incomplete peace that at some time is going to need some type of process. And this is part of what angered republicans.

Before that process was agreed and shaped, Adams was arrested, held and questioned.

So, in all of this there will be ramifications – policing and political.