Tánaiste Joan Burton has accused Sinn Féin of "pulling stunts" in the Dáil amid threats by the opposition party to continue disrupting the parliament if slurs are thrown at party members.
Her comments followed the latest confrontation on Thursday when Ms Burton alleged there was a history of sex abuse and paedophilia in the Republican movement.
The dispute arose during questions about a Garda inquiry into alleged sexual abuses perpetrated by Irish language advocate Domhnall Ó Lubhlaí. The resulting spat saw business suspended three times amid calls for her to withdraw the remark.
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams yesterday reiterated he had no confidence in the Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett to moderate debates in the Dáil and sought to meet him.
But Ms Burton stood over her controversial comments and accused Mr Adams’ party of trickery.
“The kind of stunts that Sinn Féin have been pulling now on a regular basis to disrupt the operation of the Dáil, the question arises: ‘were they to be in government would they constantly have to be walking out on themselves?’
She said Thursday’s clash was “just an outrageous waste of time in relation to a very sensitive and important issue in respect of people who have been subject to abuse. I would imagine that from this point in time, and their behaviour currently, that Sinn Féin aren’t particularly interested in being involved in government in the Republic. I think they have found a comfortable niche at the moment in terms of just pulling stunts,” she said, during an interview in Cork.
Mary Lou McDonald, meanwhile, warned that Dáil proceedings could be more regularly interrupted if the Labour leader continues with such allegations.
She said Ms Burton had unleashed an “abusive, defamatory tirade” on her and Sinn Féin’s backbenches. and called on her to withdraw her remarks, claiming the Tánaiste had told the Dáil Sinn Féin oversaw and covered up child sex abuse.
Elsewhere, the North’s deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said he had asked Taoiseach Enda Kenny yesterday for an all-Ireland approach to supporting victims of abuse.
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