It was meant to be a slick Sinn Fein budget launch... but topic of Liam Adams dominated
Sinn Fein had quite obviously prepared very thoroughly for their alternative Irish Budget launch yesterday. It was staged in an elegant library in Dublin's Royal College of Physicians, there were posh cookies, tea and coffee, and a glossy, full-colour booklet outlining the proposals.
But the event which was clearly designed to present them as a party ready to be a responsible member of a future Irish government was thoroughly overshadowed by the fallout from the conviction of Gerry Adams' brother Liam, found guilty last week of raping and sexually abusing his daughter Aine.
He was flanked at the table by party colleagues Mary Lou McDonald, Pearse Doherty and Caoimhghín Ó'Caoláin, who sat silently as Adams was quizzed time and again about his reaction to the continuing controversy over his nine-year silence regarding his brother's abuse.
Although he kept calm, his anger was evident as he launched an attack on what he saw as the issue being made "political" by other parties. "I do take exception to the quite despicable lobby that is going on," he said.
"Some in the DUP and some in Fianna Fáil are coming at this in a very political way. I reject that," he stated.
But this attempt to interest the media in political skulduggery failed. The spotlight didn't move to the DUP or to Fianna Fáil – it remained firmly focused on the Sinn Fein leader.
Asked whether he was confident he will have no questions to answer, he said: "I know that I have committed no offence, and I know that I did what I considered to be the right thing, and that I co-operated fully with the PSNI, the Public Prosecution Service, with the court."
When asked in the event that the case would be-reopened by the Northern Ireland Attorney General John Larkin, if he would consider his position, there was no response from Mr Adams.
However, there is no sign of this furore abating any time soon. And there are still more questions than answers.