SINN Féin General Election candidate Gerry Adams said he fully expects his alleged role in the Northern Bank raid to be "played up" during the forthcoming campaign but says he has nothing to hide and has confidence that people will look beyond what the party has dismissed as "utter nonsense" claims that he knew of the £26.5 million robbery before it happened.
Speaking about the matter to The Dundalk Democrat moments after officially being ratified as his party's candidate in the Louth/East Meath constitutency, Mr Adams said: "I've no doubt it will be played up.
"Dermot Ahern was on local radio about it already and you always have to take some of this with a bit of humour. Dermot was the one who Bertie sent famously to investigate the allegations around corruption and Bertie said famously that he had looked up every tree in north Dublin and couldn't find anything at all which is not what tribunals found.
"I stand by my record. All these things will be used and much more but it's up to the people and that's the best thing about elections, the people decide not our opposition.
"I don't have a black background in my past. I have confidence in citizens. On a weekend in which Alan Dukes, the former leader of Fine Gael, told us that the dig out from the taxpayer wasn't big enough and the Allied Irish was awarding e40 million in bonuses while the Government was taking money off the most vulnerable I think that people will see in the context not what allegedly happened five years ago but what is happening today."
Mr Adams said it was a big year for the party.
"We're facing into two elections this year. We've one on May 5 in the North and one here whenever the Taoiseach calls it. Our focus will be on getting the largest number of TDs elected here and the largest number of MLAs elected in the North.
"After that if we have a mandate then we will try to agree a programme for government but our focus is getting our policies and positive alternatives across."
Mr Adams said he believed the party could take part in the next government.
"Our aim is to be in government, of course, but not for the sake of it. You're only good to those who elect you if you're able to pursue policies which make positive changes in peoples' eyes but this government, what has it done?"