SINN Fein leader Gerry Adams has defended his failure to contact the police for nine years about the sexual abuse of his niece.
It came after his younger brother Liam Adams was convicted of raping and sexually assaulting his daughter, Aine, over a six-year period between 1977 and 1983 when she was aged between four and nine.
Mr Adams was told by his brother Liam back in 2000 about the fact that he was molesting his daughter Aine –but he did not report this to the PSNI until 2009.
However, he defended his actions at Sinn Fein’s final news conference to push for a Yes vote in the Seanad referendum.
“First of all, the police were aware over 20 years ago and there’s a lot of disinformation being flung around on this issue. But let me say this, this has been and continues to be a huge ordeal for my family,” he said.
Mr Adams declined to say whether he still had a relationship with his niece Aine. He appealed for privacy for him and his family.
“I think that people need to be given space to come to terms with all of that. If it was your family, you would want the same respect and the same space and privacy on these matters,” he said.
"I don't want to comment on the personal circumstances of any family. I've read the reports no more than anybody else about this. Clearly the issue of paedophilia is something of such sensitivity and importance that if information about these things is known, it should be made known to the authorities at once," he said.
By Michael Brennan and Lise Hand