Gerry Adams: I'm not up to date on Louth local issues
Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams yesterday rejected claims there were tensions in the party after he was "parachuted" in to contest a seat in Louth in the Republic's next General Election
But Mr Adams, who was criticised for a perceived lack of knowledge on a number of issues during the 2007 General Election, admitted he did not know the local issues, before promising to get up to speed.
It is understood he could take over as the party's Dail leader if he succeeds in winning the seat. Sinn Fein Cavan-Monaghan TD Caoimhghin O Caolain said yesterday he would not object to Mr Adams taking over from him as Dail leader if elected.
"Whatever will be, will be, I'll be fully accepting of it if it does entail a change," he said.
Justice Minister Dermot Ahern, who will be competing with Mr Adams in the Louth constituency, said there might be a few Sinn Fein noses "out of joint" as a result of his selection, replacing party finance spokesman Arthur Morgan.
"Arthur Morgan is a good candidate and they have a good organisation in Louth. It's interesting because they had tended to put up young candidates around the country. Now they seem to be going back on that," Mr Ahern said
During a visit to Louth yesterday, Mr Adams (62) denied he had been parachuted in over the head of expected candidate, councillor Thomas Sharkey.
"The idea for me to stand came from within the constituency," he said.
Mr Sharkey (34), who ran for Sinn Fein in last year's European elections, joined Mr Adams as he walked through the town centre in Drogheda and Dundalk. He denied Mr Adams's arrival in the constituency was a personal blow.
"There's no personal interest in this. This is everything I've ever dreamed of growing up and looking at politics. This is a fantastic move," he said.
Mr Adams admitted yesterday he was not yet up to speed on local issues in Louth.
"Obviously I couldn't be expected to know everything at this point. I will learn all of that, I will be briefed up on all of that. I could tell you how the grass grows in west Belfast and if I didn't know, I know people who do know," he said.