Martin McGuinness has reiterated his belief that the arrest of Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams was politically motivated, accusing members of the Police Service of Northern Ireland of being against the peace process.
Mr McGuinness, Northern Ireland’s deputy first minister, said there was an “embittered rump of the old RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary)” within the PSNI that was trying to settle old scores.
He spoke at the unveiling of a mural in Belfast of Adams, who is spending his fourth day in police custody in connection with the murder of mother-of-10 Jean McConville in 1972.
Mr McGuinness told the cheering crowd that Adams’ arrest was designed to affect Sinn Fein ahead of local and European elections.
He said: “No police force anywhere in the world is immune from criticism if it is acting in a politically biased and partisan fashion.
“The arrest of Gerry Adams is evidence of that fact that there is an element in the PSNI who are against the peace process and hate Gerry Adams and hate Sinn Fein.
“They are what the reformers within the PSNI have described to us as the ‘Dark Side’.”
Last night a judge allowed the PSNI a further 48 hours to hold the Sinn Fein president at Antrim police station. The republican party has warned it will review its support for the police if the veteran leader is charged.
Mr Adams, 65, vehemently denies allegations levelled by former republican colleagues that he ordered Jean McConville’s murder and secret burial more than 40 years ago after she was wrongly accused of passing information to the security forces.