The Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald has said she does not want to get dragged into a row over the politics of condemnation.
Ms McDonald had been criticised after she declined to condemn the attempted murder of Arlene Foster's father in 1979.
She has today described an IRA attack on John Kelly who was a serving policeman in the North as "wrong".
Deputy McDonald added that it is also wrong that Ms Foster had to witness that level of violence against a family member.
However, she said it is dishonourable of politicians to get dragged into a game of speaking out against every single act of violence perpetrated during the Troubles.
Ms McDonald said: "The politics of condemnation is a rabbit hole that I will not go down because it becomes a tit-for-tat, you said I said, and it becomes a tennis match between very, very hurt and very, very damaged people and communities.
“I think that serves nobody. We need to deal with the past with compassion.”
The issue was raised after Deputy McDonald called on unionist leaders to condemn a number of loyalist banners that appeared in Belfast making allegations against Sinn Féin candidate for North Belfast, John Finucane.
Mrs Foster said the call was a “bit rich” and urged Sinn Féin to comment on the attempted murder of her father in 1979 and an attack on her party’s current deputy leader Nigel Dodds in 1996.
Deputy McDonald said the attack was “wrong” and the violence during the Troubles was “absolutely tragic.”
“It was wrong that Arlene Foster as a child – that any child – witnessed that kind of violence visited on their father,” she said.
“It was wrong that John Finucane – which is where this conversation started, this run of things started – that he saw his father shot dead and his mother wounded.
“All of that is just absolutely awful and tragic and cannot happen again.”