The trial of his brother, Liam Adams, yesterday heard the Sinn Féin leader did not tell police until 2009 that Liam Adams allegedly confessed to the abuse as they walked together in Dundalk in 2000.
During cross-examination, Eilís McDermott, defending, asked why Gerry Adams had not told detectives about the alleged admission until a month before a television programme relating to the abuse claims was to be aired.
“I am suggesting that the reason you made this statement was to save your political skin,” she said.
Gerry Adams replied: “If I had been interested in saving my political skin I would not have got involved with the process at the beginning. I tried to fulfil my responsibility as an uncle to a young woman I am very fond of.
“This is above politics and saving my political skin had no consideration in any of these matters.”
Liam Adams, from Bearnagh Drive in west Belfast, is standing trial at Belfast Crown Court accused of 10 counts of child sex abuse,including rape, indecent assault, and gross indecency.
He has denied all the charges against him.
His daughter, Áine Adams, 40, claims she was abused from the age of four until about nine years old, between 1977 and 1983.
Gerry Adams, TD for Louth, gave evidence to the jury for almost four hours.
He repeatedly denied he had wanted to avoid claims that he withheld information about child sex abuse.
In 1987, when the allegations first emerged, he was MP for West Belfast.
Earlier, the trial heard Liam Adams had worked at a number of youth clubs in the heartland of his brother’s former constituency — Clonard Youth Club for five years from 1998 and another club in the Beechmount area, known as the Blackie Centre, from about 2004.
He also worked with young people in Dundalk, for about a year from 2003. Liam Adams had passed police checks, the court heard.
Gerry Adams said he had told a priest called Fr McGoran about the sex abuse allegations when he became aware that his brother was working with children at Clonard but had not gone to the police.
“At this point, Áine was an adult,” said Gerry Adams. “This was a legacy issue. I am not Áine’s parent. I am an uncle and she has many uncles. I was trying my best to resolve these matters in a way which helped Áine but also in a way which helped Liam to get rid of his demons.”
Earlier, Gerry Adams told Ciarán Murphy, prosecuting, his brother had admitted to the abuse during a meeting in Dundalk. “I had a long walk with Liam and we had a number of conversations,” he said. “During the course of that, he acknowledged that he had sexually abused Áine. He said it only happened once.”