Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Police claimed I was recruited as an agent by MI5, says Gerry Adams

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams wrote about his detention in his Andersonstown News column

Gerry Adams has claimed that police questioning him about the IRA murder of Jean McConville accused him of being an MI5 spy.

The Sinn Fein leader also said his private consultations with solicitor Seamus Collins may have been secretly recorded, and accused the PSNI of trying to stage his arrest in public.

The former West Belfast MP claimed the PSNI's main aim was to charge him with IRA membership before linking him to the 1972 murder of the mother-of-10.

Mr Adams was questioned for four days, and has written a detailed account of his interrogation for his regular column in the Andersonstown News.

The Louth TD wrote that his 33 recorded interviews were carried out by a man and woman from the Retrospective Major Investigation Team of the PSNI.

Mr Adams said more senior officers in another room monitored and directed his two interrogators.

He wrote: "They conducted all of the interrogations. All of this was recorded and video-taped. My private consultations with my solicitor may also have been covertly recorded. The male detective cautioned me. He told me that I had the right to remain silent, but if I did remain silent a court could draw an inference from this."

Mr Adams said the PSNI had contacted his solicitor on Monday last week, and he travelled to Antrim PSNI station on Wednesday after Leaders Questions in the Irish Dail.

On his way, Mr Adams said he phoned ahead to Antrim to let the senior investigating officer know when he would arrive in the town.

The Sinn Fein leader wrote: "He was insisting that I meet him in the car park opposite the PSNI barracks. He told me that I must get into a squad car and that he would then arrest me and drive me into the barracks.

"I said I would not do this and that he could arrest me inside the barracks. He said he couldn't do this under the legislation, and that I had to be arrested outside of the precincts of the station.

"Because I thought that this was merely a ruse to allow the media to be told that I had been arrested and brought to the Serious Crime Suite, I told him I was going directly to the station of my own accord, voluntarily.

"As it turned out there is no legislative bar on me being arrested within the precincts of the station. And subsequently that's exactly what happened shortly after 8pm."

Mr Adams said before his interviews started at 10.55pm, he was served with a brief that accused him of IRA membership and conspiracy in the murder of Jean McConville. Mr Adams said his first interview lasted 44 minutes, and covered his childhood and family history, before his interrogators turned off the recording equipment to "consult".

The Sinn Fein president said that over the course of his detention, the strategy of the interrogators was to "get to the point where they could charge me with membership of the IRA and thereby link me to the McConville case".

After quizzing him on his early life and involvement in Sinn Fein as a teenager, Mr Adams said the officers referred to publicly available material which they said linked him to the IRA.

"These were anonymous newspaper articles from 1971 and 1972, photographs of Martin McGuinness and I at republican funerals, and books written about the period," he wrote.

"If any of these claimed I was in the IRA then that was, according to my interrogators, evidence which they wanted to put to me for response. They consistently cast up my habit of referring to friends as 'comrades'. This they said was evidence of IRA membership.

"They claimed I was turned by the Special Branch during interrogations in Palace Barracks in 1972 and that I became an MI5 agent!"

Mr Adams said he was questioned about the talks between republicans and the Government in the same year. At the time, Mr Adams was interned on HMS Maidstone, but was freed for the failed negotiations. The republican delegation included now Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, IRA chief of staff Sean Mac Stiofain and Ivor Bell, who was recently charged in relation to the McConville murder.

He denies involvement.

Mrs McConville – who would have been 80 yesterday – died after she was dragged from her west Belfast home in front of her children. She was shot in the head and buried in secret, one of the 16 people 'disappeared' by republicans during the Troubles.

Mr Adams restated his support for the PSNI but added that his arrest had been "damaging to the peace process, and the political institutions".

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