Thursday 5 December 2019

PSNI warn of threat to life of Sinn Fein president

Niall O'Connor, Michael McHugh and David Young

SINN Fein leader Gerry Adams was warned of a "credible" threat on his life hours after being released from police custody.

The party blamed those opposed to the peace process for the sinister warning, which it said was passed by police to Mr Adams's wife while he was not at home.

Sinn Fein Stormont Assembly member Raymond McCartney said: "The PSNI officer told Gerry Adams's wife Collette that they had information of a credible threat to the life of Gerry, who was not at home at the time.

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

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

The revelations were a sinister twist on a day when much of the political focus had turned to attempts at reconciliation among fractured communities in the North.

Speaking about the death threat, Mr Adams told CNN: "The PSNI visited my home late last night and said that there was a serious threat to my life from what they described as criminals.


"That's the risk that I and others have to take, and are prepared to take, because the peace process is bigger than us.

"This is why we have to be very steadfast and resolute and patient as well."

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore said he believed there was a window of opportunity in which negotiations previously chaired by Dr Richard Haass could be progressed.

Mr Gilmore held a discussion with Mr Haass yesterday in which he urged the Americans to "keep engaged" and expressed the need for "all parties to get together after the elections".

"They spoke for about 15 minutes and it was just a catch-up conversation. They reviewed the events of the past week and agreed to speak again in a couple of weeks at the time of the election," a Labour Party spokesman said last night.

Tensions had been high over previous days while Mr Adams was held in PSNI custody for questioning in connection with the 1972 murder of Mrs McConville and other alleged links with the IRA.

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

His party colleagues had upped the ante by warning of "dark forces" within the PSNI and stating that Sinn Fein would reconsider its support for policing in the North if Mr Adams was charged.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he told Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness to raise his allegations of a "cabal" operating within the PSNI with Northern Ireland's police ombudsman.

"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 now for the ombudsman's office, in terms of a test of its oversight and responsibility for the PSNI," Mr Kenny said in Mullingar.

"Clearly it is a time of sensitivity and fragility and we hope that eveybody will focus on the importance of keeping the peace process very much alive."

Mr Gilmore said he had been in touch with Mr Haass in anticipation that progress could be made in negotiations among the North's politicians. The talks had been looking at a range of issues including flags, parades and the legacy of the Troubles.

Speaking on RTE's 'News At One', Mr Gilmore said last year's talks, which broke down on New Year's Eve, could be concluded if the parties wanted to address the legacy of the past.

He said he believed there was time between the elections in May and the marching season in July to make progress on some issues.

Irish Independent

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