Fianna Fáil Justice Spokesperson Niall Collins TD has called on Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald to withdraw comments claiming that the arrest of her colleague Gerry Adams was politically motivated, and warned of the effect her comments could have among those who continue to target police officers in the north.

Deputy Collins commented, “Gerry Adams has been arrested in connection with the murder of Jean McConville. That is an ongoing police inquiry and I do not believe that politicians from any quarter should interfere with or undermine the work of the investigation team. In that context I believe the comments of his colleague Mary Lou McDonald are particularly inappropriate and ill-judged and should be withdrawn.

“By moving so quickly to criticise a police investigation and question the motives of the officers involved, it is Deputy McDonald who has introduced politics into this inquiry. Talking of sinister ‘unionist influenced’ elements within the Police Service of Northern Ireland, as Deputy McDonald has done, harks back to some of the worst and most divisive rhetoric of the past and could be seized on by dissident groups.

“Her comments are also completely insensitive to the memory of Jean McConville, whose family have already suffered enough and whose son has welcomed the arrest. She should withdraw them at the earliest possible opportunity.”