McGuinness: Policing 'dark side' behind Adams' arrest

Martin McGuinness

The North's Deputy First Minister has blamed the “dark side” of policing conspiring with enemies of the peace process for the arrest of Gerry Adams.

Martin McGuinness acknowledged that Jean McConville was the victim of a terrible wrong done by the IRA but said yesterday’s detention was a deliberate attempt to influence the outcome of European elections du in three weeks’ time.

The head of Sinn Féin’s team at the devolved Northern Ireland Assembly has strongly condemned the shooting dead of police officers by dissident republicans opposed to the peace process.

But the arrest of Mr Adams in the midst of an election campaign has angered republicans who hope to make major vote gains south of the border.

Mr McGuinness said: “I think we have seen that dark side flex its muscles in the last couple of days.”

His partner at the head of the Stormont coalition, First Minister Peter Robinson, said it would have been political policing had the PSNI decided not to investigate Mr Adams.

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader said: “It strengthens our political process in Northern Ireland for people to know that no one is above the law, everyone is equal under the law and everyone is equally subject to the law.”

Mr McGuinness said serious questions had to be asked of the agenda of those behind the arrest.

“In the mouth of an election the leader of a political party experiencing huge growth all around the island finds himself under arrest.”

He claimed Sinn Féin had been told by “senior” and “reforming” figures within the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) that there was still a dark side within policing.

He said some former republicans who were “maliciously and vehemently” hostile to the peace process had been targeting Mr Adams.

“It is quite disappointing to see the efforts of those people now in consort with the dark side within policing.”

Mr McGuinness said his colleague played a pivotal role in bringing peace to the North.

“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,” he said.

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