The funding allegations, which have been strongly rejected by Sinn Féin as a “scurrilous attack” without foundation, came as the political crisis was increased further after the Democratic Unionist Party said the republican party should be expelled from Stormont.
Speaking on RTÉ radio’s News at One, Mr Martin — a former foreign minister whose responsibility included Northern Ireland — said it is “my observation” that “from the Northern Bank robbery onwards there are links in terms of what is going on from activities of the IRA and fundraising”.
Mr Martin said there are “questions about the fundraising capacity of Sinn Féin, the enormous resources they have”.
Challenged on the issue by the programme’s presenter, Richard Crowley, Mr Martin said people must ask “where did the money go”.
The comments were strongly rejected by Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly, who said they are a “scurrilous attack” motivated by “electioneering” and noted Mr Martin did not raise such concerns when he was part of the negotiating team for devolved policing and justice in 2010.
“Was he blind-sided then, or was it just there wasn’t an election at that time?” Mr Kelly said.
In a statement on Tuesday night in response to similar questions by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald, Sinn Féin said: “Unlike other parties our accounts are available publicly and are fully legally compliant. If the minister has any information or suspicion of illegal activity, it is her duty to bring it to the gardaí instead of casting political smears.”
However, responding to the claims last night, Renua Ireland leader Lucinda Creighton said Mr Adams should step down unless he can provide definitive evidence “Sinn Féin or its provisional wing” are not involved in crime.
The comments came as the leading unionist party in Stormont, the DUP, said it believes the recent claims by PSNI chief constable George Hamilton that elements of the provisional IRA may be linked to two Belfast murders are of sufficient strength to force the exclusion of Sinn Féin from the power-sharing executive.
Speaking in Dublin, Sinn Féin’s Dáil finance spokesman, Pearse Doherty, said the provisional IRA “no longer exists”, claimed opponents are creating a “fake crisis” and argued ex-members are “getting on with their lives” but may meet occasionally at events “to have a drink”.