Sinn Féin's Mary Lou McDonald says Gerry Adams' controversial comments in relation to the murder of Jean McConville were not said in a 'flippant way'.
During an interview with US broadcaster CBS, Deputy Adams said the mother-of-10's death was what 'happens in war'.
The Sinn Féin leader told presenter Scott Pelley, "that's what American soldiers do, British soldiers do, Irish Republican soldiers do, that's what happens in every single conflict."
The McConville family have expressed their hurt over the remarks.
Jean McConville was kidnapped and murdered by the IRA in 1972, at the height of the Troubles.
Mr Adams was questioned by the PSNI last year about her murder. He was released without charge.
Deputy McDonald was asked at an event in Dublin this afternoon about whether she agreed with Gerry Adams' comments during his recent interview. She said it is true to say that "awful things happen in conflict situations", and stressed that "a terrible injustice was visited on the McConville family":
The full '60 Minutes' interview with Mr Adams is set to broadcast in the US tonight. You can see a preview below:
Originally posted at 16.24