SINN Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald would not agree to seek an apology from her predecessor Gerry Adams for his claim that murdered 21-year-old Paul Quinn was involved in criminality.
s McDonald said the reason is that she didn't feel an apology was needed from Mr Adams because Mr Quinn's family took exclusive issue with comments from Conor Murphy, not because he accused Mr Quinn of criminal involvement, but because of the explicitness of his comments.
"The family specifically took issue with the remarks Conor made because they specifically implied wrongly that Paul was involved in criminality," she said in a Virgin Media interview with Colette Fitzpatrick tonight.
"People made comments about criminality up and around the border region, I don't think the comments were quite as explicit."
It’s suspected that an IRA gang carried out the brutal attack, however, the then Sinn Féin leader Mr Adams said in October 2007 that "there is no republican involvement whatsoever in this man’s murder. The people involved are criminals. They need to be brought to justice," before continuing, "It’s fairly obvious to me this is linked to fuel smuggling and to criminal activity.”
The Armagh man was beaten to death in a 2007 attack that broke every bone in his body.
Earlier, Ms McDonald said that she would not be dropping the North’s Finance Minister Conor Murphy from Sinn Féin, after Paul Quinn's family accounted the pain caused by Mr Murphy's own claim of his involvement in crime.
Ms McDonald said tonight that she would be happy to speak to Mr Quinn's mother Breege as she described her party colleague's comments as "abhorrent".
The Sinn Féin leader also made a u-turn on her stance on the Special Criminal Court while speaking to Virgin Media.
"I don't want it abolished and that's not in our manifesto," she said.
"What I want is a thorough review that encapsulates everything - Garda numbers, garda resources, judicial process including the Special Criminal Court but not just that, also sentencing practices."