The arrest of Gerry Adams, president of the Irish Republican political party Sinn Fein, in connection with a 1972 murder may have been politically driven and connected to upcoming elections in Ireland and Europe, New York Rep. Peter King said.
Northern Ireland police arrested Adams on April 30 in the slaying of Jean McConville, a widow with 10 children, and released him Sunday, four days later.
The case reopened wounds from a time of extreme tensions between Catholics in Northern Ireland and Protestant loyalists committed to remaining part of the United Kingdom.
Adams said he was "innocent of any part in" the murder. Over the years, others have also been arrested and questioned in McConville's murder.
King, a GOP member of the House Homeland Security Committee, said Adams had "taken enormous risks for peace," King told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Monday.
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"There would not be peace in Northern Ireland if it was not for Gerry Adams," King said. "He's the one person who kept his word throughout this entire process. And he brought about peace at tremendous risk to himself."
Adams has been president of Sinn Fein since 1983. King said he thought the current issue was connected to elections.
"I think what part of this is, that Gerry Adams' party, Sinn Fein, is going to win very big in the elections coming up in two weeks," King said on "Morning Joe."
There also were "elements in the British security apparatus," King suggested, that didn't want Adams to "achieve these victories" and had "not gotten over what happened 40, 50 years ago."
King said the "only alleged evidence" of which he was aware came from Brendan Hughes and Dolours Price, both dead now, who he said were "opposed to the peace process."
"They wanted to continue fighting with the British. And they were determined to get Gerry Adams," he said.
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