Sinn Fein has accused Fine Gael of desperation after a series of weekend attacks on Presidential candidate Martin McGuinness.
Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan led the criticism when he suggested that American investment in Ireland would dry up if McGuinness wins the election.
Both McGuinness and Sinn Fein deputy for Donegal Pearse Doherty have hit back at comments made by Hogan, chief whip Paul Kehoe and Fine Gael candidate Gay Mitchell over McGuinness’s IRA past.
Kehoe also invoked a furious response from the Sinn Fein camp when he tweeted: “Why would you need your salary when you have the proceeds of the Northern Bank at your disposal?” in reference to the famous bank robbery.
Derry born McGuinness has reacted angrily to the attacks. He said: “All of this is part of the black propaganda and dirty tricks which has no validity to it whatsoever.
“My record of attracting foreign direct investment to Northern Ireland at Deputy First Minister is there for all to see. Phil Hogan would want to catch himself on.
“I am also willing to allow my bank account to be open, and I’m sure Sinn Féin are willing to allow their bank accounts to be open.”
Donegal deputy Doherty also responded to the Fine Gael comments on Irish radio on Monday morning.
“It’s a sign of desperation and political naivety on behalf of the government that they think that attacking Martin McGuinness in this way will somehow boost their own support base,” claimed Doherty.
“It’s clear that they’re frustrated that only just over a quarter of their own supporters are willing to support Gay Mitchell.”
Meanwhile, almost half of voters polled by the Paddy Power bookmaker chain believe McGuinness won Friday night’s television debate with the other six candidates in the Presidential election.
The Sinn Fein candidate polled 46.2 per cent in the online poll with Sean Gallagher a distant second on 14.2 per cent.
Senator David Norris was third on 11.1 per cent with Labor’s Michael D Higgins on just 10.3 per cent. Fine Gael’s Gay Mitchell got 6.4 per cent with Mary Davis on 2.9 per cent.
Higgins is still favorite to win the race for the Aras at odds of 4/7.