Belfast Telegraph

Gerry Adams arrest: Martin McGuinness blames 'the dark side'

David Cameron, meanwhile, insists there has been "absolutely no political interference" in the Sinn Fein president's arrest

Martin McGuinness blamed the "dark side" of policing for Gerry Adams' detention during the election campaign and insisted his leader could have been questioned without being arrested.

He said the questioning centred on books Mr Adams had written and what others said about him - those "maliciously and vehemently" hostile to the peace process.

The Deputy First Minister claimed: "People who could be described as former republicans (are) targeting the Sinn Fein peace strategy and targeting the leader of Sinn Fein, Gerry Adams.

"It has been disappointing to see the efforts of some of those people together in consort with the dark side within policing."

He drew a contrast between "reformers" within the police service, whom he supported, and those from the "dark side" responsible for the arrest of his friend Mr Adams.

"For over 20 years we have worked very, very closely in developing the peace process, bringing about the political and security transformation that the public enjoy today and, in my opinion, in the course of supporting the peace process, he has been the single most influential figure in the process.

"I view his arrest as a deliberate attempt to influence the outcome of the elections that are due to take place in three weeks' time, north and south on this island.

"That raises very serious questions around why that is the case and what is the agenda."

Meanwhile, asked about claims that the arrest was politically motivated, Prime Minister David Cameron said: "There has been absolutely no political interference in this issue."

He added: "We have an independent judicial system, both here in England and also we do have one in Northern Ireland.

"We have independent policing authorities, independent prosecuting authorities. Those are vital parts of the free country and the free society we enjoy today."

Further reading:

Gerry Adams latest: Jean McConville's son fears for his life, Sinn Fein hits out at unionist 'Old Guard'

Gerry Adams arrest: How the story has developed so far 

Gerry Adams: Haunted by the shadow of a shocking Troubles crime

'Arrest Gerry Adams now' - former republican prisoner breaks her silence on IRA murder of Jean McConville

Gerry Adams: I'll talk to police. Sinn Fein chief in pledge to co-operate over Jean McConville case 

'Gerry Adams, you're next': Jean McConville's daughter tells Sinn Fein president he'll follow IRA veteran Ivor Bell to dock 

Jean McConville: The terrible case they tried to bury, but it just won't go away

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