Arrested Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has no reason to 'step aside' - Mary Lou McDonald
* The Sinn Fein Deputy leader uses the term 'murder' in relation to Jean McConville
* Party officials had always previously referred to mum-of-ten's death as a 'killing'
* McDonald says Adams is not a 'suspect'
* She reiterates view that timing of arrest of Gerry Adams was 'politically motivated'
SINN Fein Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald has claimed that elements within the PSNI and unionist movement "politically coalesced" to have Gerry Adams arrested just weeks before the local and European elections.
Ms McDonald rejected suggestions that her leader should step aside temporarily while the police investigation into the murder of Jean McConville continues.
But in a significant development, Ms McDonald for the first time publicly described the death of the mother-of-ten as "murder".
So far, statements from Sinn Fein and Mr Adams himself have only gone as far to described Ms McConville's death as a "killing".
Asked whether she would use the term 'murder', Ms McDonald replied:
"I would use the word death, killing murder, whichever. The woman lost her life in the most appalling of circumstances and an appalling injustice was done."
She added: "I know you're looking for the 'm' word. I don't think we should play games here. Irrespective of which word was used, it doesn't change the reality of what happened there. I'm less concerned about vocabulary - I've given you what I believe is a straight answer."
Ms McDonald openly clashed with journalists at a press conference in Dublin today, held to launch a Sinn Fein document on workers' rights.
The Dublin Central TD insisted that Mr Adams is "not a suspect in a murder case", adding that the timing of his arrest was, in the party's view, "politically motivated".
She accepted that the allegations made about the PSNI are "very serious" but she insisted that she is standing by her views.
Ms McDonald said that sensible people will realise that there is "political motivation" behind the arrest of Mr Adams.