Sinn Fein deputy party leader Mary Lou McDonald defends Gerry Adams over claim he gave IRA orders
Sinn Fein deputy party leader Mary Lou McDonald has sprung to the defence of Gerry Adams over fresh allegations that he was a senior figure in the IRA.
She said the allegations were "nothing new" and were being made in the heat of an election campaign.
Former IRA prisoner Peter Rogers has claimed Mr Adams and Martin McGuinness ordered him to transport explosives to be used in a bomb in England in 1980.
Mr Rogers (69) is a former IRA prisoner who escaped from the Maidstone Prison Ship in 1972.
He was later jailed in the Republic for the murder of a Garda he said was killed while he was transporting the explosives.
Ms McDonald dismissed the allegations.
Speaking as Sinn Fein candidate Lynn Bolan lodged her European poll papers, Ms McDonald said such allegations tend to surface in the heat of elections. "That is a recurring theme in media circles and becomes more attractive around election times.
"Any questions you have around Gerry are more appropriate to direct them to appropriate people," she said.
She made her comments as the Republic's Junior Finance Minister said Mr Adams was "utterly mired" in the IRA "murder machine".
Brian Hayes has called on Mr Adams to address the allegations of involvement in the bomb plot.
Speaking as he handed in his papers to officially become an MEP candidate, Mr Hayes said Mr Adams and Sinn Fein must address Mr Rogers' allegations. "The raison d'être of Sinn Fein is to deny, deny and deny even where facts are presented which show the opposite.
"Of course Mr Adams needs to tell the truth on this, but the problem is would anyone believe him if he said it," he added.
"We are dealing with a political party which has done everything to muddy the waters and to not give the truth as to their involvement in the murder machine.
"People know the background from which Sinn Fein come from," he added.
Mr Adams has been under continuous pressure over allegations he was involved in the murder of widowed mother-of-10 Jean McConville who was abducted and executed by the IRA in 1972.
Several veteran republicans have now accused him publicly of being involved in her death.
Mr Adams has consistently denied that he was ever a member of the IRA.