Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has been accused of “bluster and playing to the gallery” after he launched a blistering attack on Sinn Féin.
Mr Flanagan warned that Sinn Féin would deliver “little more than chaos” and would implement “crazed economic policies” if let into government after the next general election.
Ruling out any partnership between Mary-Lou McDonald’s party and Fine Gael, Mr Flanagan said: “We have seen what radical left-wing economics has delivered for countries like Greece, where Syriza, sister party of Sinn Fein, delivered little more than chaos, undoing the progress that had been made by the previous government, and then bailing out, leaving the people of Greece high and dry.
At the Fine Gael Laois-Offaly selection convention, Mr Flanagan said he could not “support the chequebook answer as a solution to everything that forms the basis of the crazed Sinn Féin economic policies”.
Mr Flanagan denounced Sinn Féin over its commitment to abolishing the Special Criminal Court if elected to power.
Earlier this year, Sinn Féin TD, Aengus Ó Snodaigh used his Dáil privilege to allege the SCC judges had shown “an anti-republican bias”. The minister also took aim at that.
“The judges of the Special Criminal Court have performed courageous public service in presiding over the prosecutions of some of the most dangerous criminals in the State.
“It is true that many provisional IRA and dissident by Republican terrorists have been convicted of heinous crimes by the Special Criminal Court over the years but it does not follow that the court has an anti-republican bias.”
Mr Flanagan described the SCC as a vital part of the State’s defence against ruthless criminals and violent terrorists. “I am determined that the bullet will not prevail over the ballot box.”
A Sinn Féin spokesman said the party would not be taking “any lectures” from Mr Flanagan when “his Government is kept in power by the architects of the economic crisis here in Ireland and when his Government continues to pursue the same policies that brought us that crisis”.
The spokesman said: “This is just bluster and playing to the gallery from Minister Flanagan, with very little substance to what he is saying.”
The spokesman added that it will be the public who decides on what party will govern after any general election and not Mr Flanagan, Fine Gael, or Fianna Fáil.
“Sinn Féin wants to be in government. We will put our policies to the people and, if we get a mandate from the people, we will talk to all parties and none about putting together a republican programme for government that deals with the health and housing crises, tackles the cost-of-living crisis, faces the challenges of Brexit head on, and delivers on Irish unity.”