04/30/14 18:25 EST

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has been arrested in connection with the abduction and murder of Jean McConville in 1972.

Mrs McConville, a 37-year-old widow and mother of 10 children, was abducted in December 1972 from her flat in the Divis area of the city and shot by the IRA.

Her body was recovered on a beach in Co Louth in August 2003.

Police said that a 65-year-old man was arrested by detectives from the Serious Crime Branch on Wednesday and has been questioned at Antrim Serious Crime Suite.

In a statement released by Sinn Féin, Mr Adams said he told the PSNI last month he was available to speak about the Jean McConville case.

Mr Adams said: "Last month I said that I was available to meet the PSNI about the Jean McConville case. While I have concerns about the timing, I am voluntarily meeting with the PSNI this evening."

Gerry Adams presented himself by apppointment to police. He was arrested at the police station.

He said: "As a republican leader I have never shirked my responsibility to build the peace. This includes dealing with the difficult issue of victims and their families. Insofar as it is possible I have worked to bring closure to victims and their families who have contacted me. Even though they may not agree, this includes the family of Jean McConville."

His statement continued: "I believe that the killing of Jean McConville and the secret burial of her body was wrong and a grievous injustice to her and her family. Well publicised, malicious allegations have been made against me. I reject these."

"Sinn Féin has signed up to the Haass proposals for dealing with the past. While I also respect the right of families if they wish to seek legal redress there remains a huge onus on the two governments and the political parties to face up to all these issues and to agree a victim centred process which does this."

Sinn Féin said that they believe the timing of the arrest ahead of elections in Northen Ireland and the Republic of Ireland was "politically motivated".

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