Gerry Adams has been strongly criticised by unionists after using offensive language at a public meeting.
The Sinn Féin president said the phrase “the point is to break these bastards”.
While the DUP and Ulster Unionists interpreted it as a slight on unionists, Mr Adams said he was only talking about bigots and racists.
He made the comment during a meeting in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, last night.
Mr Adams said: “But what’s the point? The point is to actually break these bastards – that’s the point. And what’s going to break them is equality. That’s what’s going to break them – equality.
“Who could be afraid of equality? Who could be afraid of treating somebody the way you want to be treated?
“That’s what we need to keep the focus on – that’s the Trojan horse of the entire republican strategy is to rejoin the people on the basis of equality.”
Audio of the comments containing the swear word was tweeted by Fermanagh-based Impartial Reporter journalist Rodney Edwards.
DUP Stormont assembly member Arlene Foster said: “Respect is a two-way street. The hyperbole from republicans over recent days has been exposed as hypocrisy.
“Republicans use the Irish language as a weapon and tonight Gerry Adams confirms that they view equality as another weapon to attack unionists, or these bastards, as he would term us.”