Following the findings of the Smithwick Tribunal, Mr Adams was criticised for saying the RUC men thought they were immune from attack and had “a laissez-faire disregard for their own security”. He later said the IRA gunmen were “brave” and said it was their duty to kill the unarmed officers.
The families of the dead men said they were “appalled” by the comments while Justice Minister Alan Shatter described them as “nauseating”.
In a statement, Mr Adams attacked Mr Shatter’s criticism as “pompous” and described Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin’s decision to raise the issue at leader’s questions as a “contrived outburst”.
However, he said he was very conscious that at the heart of the issue were two bereaved families and it was never his intention to cause any further hurt to them.
Mr Adams claimed his comments reflect what was recorded by Judge Peter Smithwick who expressed concerns about the security arrangements for RUC officers travelling to Dundalk through South Armagh.
“These include the fact that information about possible IRA attacks on RUC officers crossing the border was passed to Garda Headquarters and passed by it to the RUC,” he said.
“It is a fact that RUC officer Bob Buchanan was crossing the border on average 10 times each month and on most occasions he travelled in his own car which was ‘readily identifiable’.”
“It is nonsense to suggest that I was blaming the two RUC officers for their own deaths. Everyone knows the IRA was responsible. That was never in question.”
He was defended by his Justice spokesman Pádraig MacLochlainn who described the RUC as “a sectarian, orange state enforcer”.
The tribunal found an unidentified garda in Dundalk station tipped off the IRA that the men were attending a meeting in the town on the day of the murders, Mar 20, 1989.
But Judge Smithwick was yesterday accused of placing a cloud of suspicion over all gardaí who worked at Dundalk by a former garda whose naming sparked the eight-year probe.
Former detective sergeant Owen Corrigan said he did not believe Judge Smithwick’s ruling that one of his colleagues would have colluded in the murder of the two brave RUC officers.
“Unfortunately, Judge Smithwick’s finding has now placed a cloud of suspicion over all former members of Dundalk Garda Station in circumstances where there is no direct evidence of collusion,” he said. Mr Corrigan welcomed that there was no finding of collusion on his part in the double murder. “I do not accept, however, his findings that I had an inappropriate relationship with the Provisional IRA,” he said.