As he arrived at the RDS yesterday, he accepted the general election had produced some disappointments for him and his party.
“Obviously, we have had a number of disappointments, as have all of the political parties,” he said. “I just want to commiserate with some candidates who hit the crossbar.”
Mr Adams was speaking after the party failed to take seats in places such as Dublin West and Dublin Bay South, where they expected to see Paul Donnelly and Chris Andrews elected.
However, in the same breath, Mr Adams sought to put a positive spin on his party’s performance.
It left the Dáil with 10% of the vote and 14 seats and will return with as many as 23 seats, according to deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald.
“It has been a very good election for Sinn Féin,” said Mr Adams. “Across the State, the spread of the vote, the number of women elected, is very good.”
However, it was put to him that he remains a barrier to the party gaining a stronghold in middle Ireland. Recent comments from former taoiseach Bertie Ahern — who suggested Mr Adams would cost Sinn Féin 10 seats — were raised.
“Do you believe Bertie?” Mr Adams asked the reporter. “Bertie got an unrivalled three terms and he wrecked the State.”
However, he accepted expectations were not met.
“You always want to perform better,” he said. “The effort is to do your very best, and I have said to our people give it 100%. If you don’t make it, well, that’s OK, because you have given it 100%. We are blessed with a team of activists and people who voted for us. It is a learning process for everyone and I include us in that process. I include the voters in that.”
Mr Adams, joined by Ms McDoland, was asked if he was he disappointed the drop in support for the Government parties went to Fianna Fáil rather than to Sinn Féin.
“They will be disappointed by Fianna Fáil if they end up in governance,” he said. “We did our best, we got a very good result. It is an incremental process of change. We weren’t looking for a Gilmore Gale or one of those... No Adams Avalanche.”
He was cautious about what was next for Sinn Fein.
“The big thing that has happened in the election is that the realignment continues,: he said. “It is a work in progress, it is painfully slow.”
He said there would be no decisions about the next move until “all of the seats are filled and when we have had a chance to meet as a party leadership”.
He added that any potential coalition involving Sinn Féin could include people who are not associated with the Right to Change alliance, but ruled out any arrangement with Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.
“We have no mandate to go in with Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil,” said Mr Adams. “We have put our people on continued election standby, we did that two days before polling. Stay on alert, take your posters down carefully.”