Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has again denied any involvement in the abduction and killing of Jean McConville after her family held a protest against his bid for a Dail seat.
Relatives of Ms McConville handed out 'Anyone but Adams' leaflets in Co Louth on Saturday, where her body was uncovered in 2003 and where Mr Adams is standing for election.
The Sinn Fein chief said he respected the family's right to demonstrate.
"I have to say that in whatever strongest way possible I can articulate it that I had nothing to do with the abduction and the killing of that unfortunate woman," Mr Adams said.
"I have already condemned it, I have apologised for it because Irish republicans committed that offence and if the family want to protest, as they have, that's a matter for them."
Ms McConville was abducted, killed and secretly buried by the IRA in Co Louth in 1972. Her body was found in 2003.
Her daughter, Helen McKendry, handed out leaflets in Dundalk asking people not to vote for Mr Adams and held a placard urging people to remember her mother, as well as Tom Oliver, also abducted and killed by the IRA, and Detective Garda Jerry McCabe.
"I understand and I respect their right to protest. This is a very, very serious charge. It's a charge which is at the very core of me as an Irish republican," Mr Adams said.
"I've been very straightforward in trying to deal with it, and as best I can very compassionate about the family."
Northern Ireland deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness played down the impact of the protest on Mr Adams' electoral chances, describing him as a statesman.