Following the release of Mr Adams after four days of police questioning regarding Mrs McConville’s murder in 1972, Michael McConville expressed disappointment the Sinn Féin leader had not ended up in court.
He said that when he told Mr Adams he would release the names of those involved in the abduction, the Sinn Féin leader warned it would provoke a “backlash”.
Mr McConville said that he took the remark as a “threat” at the time the North’s former police ombudsman Nuala O’Loan was drawing up a report into claims his mother was an informer.
“I asked the IRA if Nuala O’Loan came out and made her statement clear that my mother wasn’t an informant would they come out and apologise for the murder of our mother and they turned around and says ‘no they won’t’ and they’d be making a statement saying that ‘your mother was an informant’,” Mr McConville told the BBC. “I says to them ‘well, if that’s the case I’ll be releasing the names into the public of the people that came and took our mother that night’.
“Gerry Adams says to me ‘Michael, you are getting a letter of support from the Republican people’. He says ‘if you release the names I hope you are ready for the backlash’.
“I took it as a threat,” said Mr McConville, saying he understood the “backlash” referred to would come from “Republican people.”
Meanwhile, Mr Adams, who has denied any involvement in Mrs McConville’s murder, has been warned of a “credible” death threat, Sinn Féin said.
The controversy arose as a new drive to sort out the North’s “legacy issues” was signalled by Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore in the wake of Mr Adams’s release.