Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Republic of Ireland voters more worried about economy than Gerry Adams arrest: Sinn Fein candidate

Enda Kenny rejected suggestions that Gerry Adams' arrest had been politically motivated
Enda Kenny rejected suggestions that Gerry Adams' arrest had been politically motivated

A Sinn Fein European election candidate in the Republic has said the arrest of Gerry Adams is of less concern to voters there than putting food on the table.

Liadh Ni Riada added that she didn't feel the publicity surrounding Mr Adams' questioning over the abduction and murder of Jean McConville had impacted negatively on her chances of election.

"This is something that happened over 40 years ago and the reality is, to the people on the ground, they're more concerned with more pressing issues such as trying to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads," said the Ireland South candidate.

"That's the most pressing issue for people on the ground and that's what I'm finding on the doorstep.

"Poverty is at an all-time high, kids are going hungry and just keeping body and soul together is difficult so for the majority of people and with further taxes coming down the line, they're the issues bothering people on the doorstep."

Ms Ni Riada – who "fully accepts" Mr Adams' word that he was never in the IRA – said she wasn't sure that a different leader would make it easier for candidates south of the border.

"He is the most popular leader within the Sinn Fein party and support is always strongly behind him and he still has a lot to give," she said.

Mr Adams wrote to the PSNI on March 23 to say he was available and willing to help with their inquiries into Ms McConville's murder.

Sinn Fein deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said detectives had waited more than a month to take him up on the offer because of a "politically motivated" attempt to undermine the party ahead of elections on both sides of the border.

She claimed that reactionary figures within the DUP as well as the Traditional Unionist Voice and "old guard" elements within the PSNI created pressure to choreograph the timing of the arrest.

"My own view is that those two things have coalesced for the timing of this to fall right in the middle of an election campaign," Ms McDonald added.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny rejected suggestions that the arrest had been politically motivated.

"All I can say is that I hope the president of Sinn Fein answers in the best way he can, to the fullest extent that he can, questions that are being asked about a live murder investigation," he said.

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