Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams spent a third night in custody last night after detectives were granted another 48 hours to question him about the murder of Jean McConville in 1972.
Last night, the PSNI was given additional time by the court to quiz Mr Adams about allegations that he was involved in the disappearance of the mother of 10.
On Wednesday, Mr Adams, aged 65, agreed to present himself to the Antrim PSNI station after first making himself available for questioning last month.
It is understood that he is being questioned on the contents of taped interviews obtained under court order from Boston College.
Mr Adams’s Sinn Féin colleagues have continued to criticise the PSNI for the timing of the arrest and the subsequent request to keep Mr Adams in custody.
Member of the Stormont Assembly, Gerry Kelly, said: “The arrest and continued detention of Gerry Adams is deliberately timed to coincide with the elections in three weeks’ time. This is political policing at its most blatant.”
Earlier, the North’s deputy first minister, Martin McGuinness, said the party would consider withdrawing co-operation with the PSNI if Mr Adams was charged.
Mr McGuinness also said last night: “Yesterday, I said that the timing of the arrest of Gerry Adams was politically motivated.
“Today’s decision by the PSNI to seek an extension confirms me in my view.”
Earlier, Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore accused Sinn Féin of playing the victim and of expecting special treatment from the police.
“We have to be very clear that there aren’t separate rules for politicians,” said Mr Gilmore. “If the police service want to interview somebody in connection with a murder investigation, they’re perfectly entitled to do that.”
Mr Kenny said Sinn Féin’s focus should be on assisting the probe. “The PSNI is not the RUC,” he said.
“They have a job to do and, in that context, anybody — as the Sinn Féin leader himself has said — anybody who has any information about the 10 to 12 people and those who ordered them to take out Jean McConville, to have her murdered and have her disappeared for so many years, have a duty now and a responsibility in the new age to give that information to the PSNI, who are conducting this investigation as an unsolved murder in a very professional and competent manner.”
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