Gerry Adams gave his first full interview since Djangogate and here's what he said
Sinn Féin President and TD Gerry Adams joined Michael Reade on LMFM this morning to discuss this weekend's Django-gate controversy.
Explaining his much-maligned use of the n-word in reference to Quentin Tarantino's film Django Unchained, Adams said he "saw a parallel, as I have for a long time, between the struggle between African Americans and what we've had in Ireland"
"In an ironic way, unfortunately, I used the N-word, realised that was a mistake, deleted it and apologised. I stand over my substantive point, the broad parallels between African Americans and what was happening in our own place."
"I didn't use it in a racist way. This is no excuse but Django uses it frequently... In my post I compared him to an uppity Fenian or a Ballymurphy n-word."
"I'm sorry that I used it because it offended people and I accept that it's not an appropriate word to use. I also would say that it distracted from the substantive point that I was trying to make and I would rather be smart enough, and we all make mistakes, I'm as stupid as anybody else at times, but it distracts from the substantive point that I was trying to make."
"The fact is, it was inappropriate, I'm sorry that I used it."
Adams also spoke at length of his admiration for black civil rights figures in the US.
"I've always been moved by people like Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X... All people who stood up for themselves. The civil rights movement in Ireland was inspired by the African American civil rights movement."
When pushed by Reade to respond to accusations that he isn't genuinely sorry, Adams was emphatic.
"My apology is unqualified and quite straightforward. I apologise. No caveats or conditionality, whatsoever. I regret using it."
"On a smaller scale, the same thing happened to Ireland. People were slaughtered in a siege by Cromwell, shipped Irish people as slaves to Barbados, Catholics were prohibited from practicing their religion, couldn't own property, Irish culture was banned. The famine and partition are all evidence of the wretched and pitiable condition of Irish people."
"The fact is people were shipped off in chains. Were they wrapped up in powder puffs?"
"I've never seen myself as white, that's only skin deep. We're all human beings and we all deserve to be treated equally."
When Reade asked about Adams' Twitter usage, perceived by some as entertaining but by others as bizarre, Adams said:
"I live a wee bit on the edge there, I enjoy it, I know it excites some comment and some people see my tweets as a bit bizarre. It does allow for engagement with a strata of people who don't necessarily listen to radio or read print newspapers. I know some people think that I shouldn't be on Twitter but sure in the middle of it all, despite the seriousness of this discussion, you have to be able to have a bit of craic."
Reade also pointed out that Enda Kenny came under fire for usage of the n-word many years ago, while telling a joke. Adams did not agree with the comparison, saying "I was being ironic, I wasn't trying to make a joke. It's up to Enda to explain himself."