Friday 23 February 2018

Death threat made to Gerry Adams - PSNI

* PSNI visited Mr Adams’s home last night and spoke to wife Collette
* Senior Sinn Fein member, Bobby Storey, was also warned of death threats
* Son of Mrs McConville has said Mr Adams threatened him with a "backlash"
* Mr Adams questioned the timing of his detention
* Taoiseach responded to McGuinness' comments "about a cabal operating within the PSNI"

Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams

Niall O’Connor Political Correspondent

SINN Fein Gerry Adams has been informed of a “credible threat” against his life, the party’s Belfast Office has confirmed.

A PSNI officer visited Mr Adams’s home last night and informed the Sinn Fein President’s family that a live threat had been established.

Mr Adams was not at home at the time and the information was passed onto his wife Collette.

According to a statement from Sinn Fein’s Justice spokesperson in the North, Raymond McCartney, the death threat was also made against fellow Sinn Fein figure Bobby Storey.

“I can confirm that the PSNI visited the homes of Gerry Adams and Bobby Storey last night to warn them of a credible threat against their lives,” Mr McCartney said.

“The PSNI officer told Gerry Adams wife Collette that they had information of a “serious threat from criminals” to Gerry Adams who was not at home at the time.

“Clearly there are elements that are opposed to the peace process and anti Sinn Féin. We will not allow them to succeed nor will we be deflected from our determination to build the peace process.”

A police spokesman said the force did not discuss the security of any individual.

He added: "However, if we receive information that a person's life may be at risk we will inform the relevant persons accordingly. We never ignore anything which may put an individual at risk."

Another senior Sinn Fein member, Bobby Storey, was also warned of death threats, the party said.

Mr Adams has vehemently rejected allegations made by former republican colleagues that he ordered the abduction and killing of Mrs McConville.

The decision whether to charge him with any offence will be made by the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) at a later date after reviewing evidence presented by police.

A son of Mrs McConville has said Mr Adams threatened him with a "backlash" if he released the names of those he believed were responsible.

Michael McConville has said his family's fight for justice will go on after the Sinn Fein leader was freed, but has maintained he could be shot if he disclosed the identities of suspects to police.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Gerry Adams says to me 'Michael, you are getting a letter of support from the republican people'. He says 'if you release the names I hope you are ready for the backlash'.

"I took it as a threat."

Mr McConville alleged the "threat" was made around the time a report being drawn up by Northern Ireland's then police ombudsman, Nuala O'Loan, into claims that his mother was an informer was close to being finalised.

The Sinn Fein president had brokered a series of meetings between him and members of the IRA.

Mr McConville said he used to tell Mr Adams what had happened in the meetings and warned him that he would release the names of those involved if Ms O'Loan's report was disputed.

At that point he said the backlash was mentioned.

Mr McConville said that "could" have meant a backlash against the peace process but said he took it to mean the "backlash from republican people".

Mr Adams will refocus on election campaigning today as the political fall-out from his release from police custody continues to reverberate around Stormont and beyond.

The republican party is holding a European election rally in Belfast tonight, with a similar event planned in Dublin tomorrow, as Mr Adams resumes the canvassing activities he claims his detention was designed to thwart.

The rapturous welcome Mr Adams received in a west Belfast hotel on his first public appearance was in marked contrast to the angry scenes outside the police station as loyalists protested at the decision to free him.

There was disorder in the loyalist Sandy Row area of Belfast, with petrol bombs and stones thrown, though no one was injured.

The former MP for west Belfast and now representative for Co Louth in the Irish Dail criticised the police's handling of his arrest but moved to dispel any suggestion that Sinn Fein's commitment to policing had wavered in the wake of the affair.

His arrest on Wednesday triggered a bitter political row at Stormont, with Sinn Fein accusing an "anti-peace process rump" within the PSNI of orchestrating the detention with the aim of damaging the party ahead of the European and local government elections.

This was angrily rejected by political rivals, whose fury intensified when senior Sinn Fein figures indicated that their support for the police - a critical plank in the peace process - would be "reviewed" if Mr Adams was charged.

Democratic Unionist Stormont First Minister Peter Robinson denounced those remarks as "bully boy" tactics.

Downing Street confirmed that David Cameron and Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny spoke yesterday to discuss the situation surrounding Mr Adams' arrest.

Mr Adams questioned the timing of his detention and said police had unnecessarily used "coercive" legislation to detain and quiz him.

However, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said that "the fundamental issue here is that a woman was abducted, tortured, murder and her body wasn't found for very many years".

Speaking at the Longford/Westmeath by-election in Mullingar, Mr Kenny said that "Gerry Adams is one of a number of people who has been questioned about this".

"Obviously Deputy Adams has been released and a file is being prepared for the DPP.  I spoke yesterday to Prime Minister Cameron who confirmed to me very clearly that there was absolutely no political interference from the British side in this investigation."

The Taoiseach said that he responded to Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness' comments "about a cabal operating within the PSNI".

"I made the point to the Deputy First Minister that he should lodge a formal complaint with the ombudsman's office based on the information given to him about a cabal operating as they call it, on the dark side of the PSNI."

"I think that is matter of test now for the ombudsman's office in terms of test of its oversight responsibility for the PSNI," he added.

Online Editors

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