Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams is still being questioned by detectives about the IRA murder of a Belfast mother-of-10 after they were granted more time to quiz him.
Last night a judge allowed the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) a further 48 hours to hold the party president at Antrim police station.
Mr Adams, 65, vehemently denies allegations levelled by former republican colleagues that he ordered Jean McConville’s murder and secret burial in 1972.
A PSNI spokesman said: “Detectives from Serious Crime Branch investigating the abduction and murder of Jean McConville in 1972 have been granted an extra 48 hours to interview a 65-year-old man who was arrested in connection with the investigation on Wednesday 30th April.”
Mr Adams’ party colleague and Stormont deputy first minister Martin McGuinness has claimed a “cabal” within the PSNI was behind the arrest, with the intent of damaging the peace process and inflicting political scars on Sinn Fein in the month of an election.
Mr McGuinness indicated that Sinn Fein would review its support for policing in Northern Ireland if Mr Adams is charged by detectives investigating the murder of Mrs McConville.
The deputy first minister said he and colleagues would not be making a “knee-jerk” decision, but suggested they would “reflect” on their endorsement of the PSNI if such a situation came to pass.
Mrs McConville was dragged screaming from her children in the Divis flats in west Belfast by a gang of up to 12 men and women after being wrongly accused of informing to the security forces during the height of the conflict.
She was interrogated, shot in the back of the head and then secretly buried - becoming one of the “Disappeared” victims of the Troubles. Her body was not found until 2003 on a beach in Co Louth, 50 miles from her home.
Mr Adams, a former MP for West Belfast and now an elected representative for Co Louth in the Irish Dail, voluntarily presented himself for interview at Antrim PSNI station by prior arrangement with detectives.