“Something, Something, Something, Dark Side…” – redux

More sound and fury from Sinn Féin over the continuing, agreed, questioning of party president Gerry Adams, TD, about the abduction, murder and secret burial of Jean McConville in 1972.  This time the Northern Ireland deputy First Minister, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness, is recycling a 2011 phrase from his party chairman, Declan Kearney.  And, apparently, he has super-sekrit sources

Mr McGuinness, Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minister, told a press conference at Stormont that the arrest of his party leader and “friend” was politically motivated.

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 here in the north of Ireland“. [added emphasis]

“I think we have seen that dark side flex its muscles in the course of the last couple of days,” he added.

“We know who they are. The reformers know who they are,” Mr McGuinness told reporters.

[Sinn Féin are getting private briefings from people within the PSNI?! – Ed]  MI5…  [Sssh!!! – Ed]  Well, Martin may be…  [SSSHHH!!! –  Ed]

ANYhoo…  From the UTV report

Meanwhile the DUP leader and First Minister Peter Robinson has come out in support of the PSNI in the actions they have taken in the McConville murder investigation.

He explained: “I would suggest it would be political policing if the PSNI had not questioned those that were deemed to have been involved in any way.

It strengthens the 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.

I commend the police for the action they have taken. They must have known that by taking this step they would be criticised from some quarters but it is my duty as First Minister, as it is for others that have taken up ministerial office, to give their support to police and the rule of law.” [added emphasis]

The Guardian report adds

Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt said it was “frankly outrageous” that McGuinness was blaming the arrest on “the dark side of policing”.

Quite simply the police must be allowed to follow evidence wherever it leads them. It is a fundamental legal principle that justice and the due process of law must apply equally to everyone in a society,” Nesbitt added. [added emphasis]

Earlier on Thursday, a spokesman for the Northern Ireland Office rejected the suggestion that the arrest was politically motivated. The spokesman said: “This is entirely an operational matter for the PSNI.”

And, as the PSNI have reportedly said

In a statement, a PSNI spokesman said: “Police have a duty to impartially investigate serious crime including murder.

It is the police’s duty to make relevant enquiries, interview those with information, arrest and question suspects and, in consultation with the Public Prosecution Service (PPS), to either charge or submit a file to the PPS in relation to the investigation.

“This procedure is being followed in this case. As one individual has been charged with serious offences and files are being prepared in relation to other individuals, it would be inappropriate to comment further other than to reiterate the Police Service’s commitment to treat everyone equally before the law.” [added emphasis]

Back in August 2011, Liam Clarke spelt out the alternative

In a modern democracy, politicians are expected to allow the police the operational independence to follow up whatever leads come up – even if many of them turn out to be false.

The alternative would be for detectives to ring up senior politicians and to ask which suspects could be vouched for and which it would be wise to pull in for questioning.

That is just the sort of old boys’ network that republicans claimed operated between senior unionists and the RUC under the old Stormont.

Indeed.

Adds  From a further UTV report (1 May)

Dolores Kelly, SDLP MLA, said: “The police made it very clear during the Policing Board that they will go wherever the investigation leads.

“I believe that’s what they’ve done and I don’t accept the argument that it was political policing.”

Chris Lyttle, Alliance MLA, said: “I think if there’s a case to be answered to Gerry Adams has obviously approached the police and I think we need to see due process take its course now regardless of the time of the year that is happening.”

Mike Nesbitt, UUP leader, said: “Three things have happened – first of all Gerry Adams has said he’ll talk to the police about a very serious murder, secondly thinking about it the police say we would like to do that but then thirdly, the man’s best friend accuses the police of a conspiracy.

“What planet is Martin McGuinness on that he is accusing the police of doing something wrong when they’re simply accepting an invitation from Gerry Adams?”

Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD said: “This is still an investigation and what I can say is that I hope that that Mr Adams answers in the best way that he can to the full extent that he can about questions that are being asked about a live murder investigation.”