Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams this week accused Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin of 'an outrageous attack' after Martin claimed Adams party had prolonged suffering of the Irish people, north and south.

Martin chose his party's annual Arbour Hill commemoration ceremony to rule out any possibility of a coalition with Sinn Fein, the second largest party in the North and the fourth largest party in the Republic. Martin then took the opportunity to criticize Sinn Fein for supporting the IRA.

According to the Irish Examiner Adams countered that Martin's attack was motivated by difficulties within Fianna Fail, including Martin's leadership and challenges from within against its pro-European treaty stance.

'I believe that many people across the island, not least supporters and members of Mr Martin's own party, will be disappointed at his remarks,' Adams said. 'The irony of Deputy Martin using an Easter commemoration at Arbour Hill to launch an attack on republicans will be lost on very few.'

Adams then reminded Martin that Sinn Fein had been central to bringing peace to Ireland. Adams added that he believed Martin was playing political point-scoring and said he was using the conflict in the North in a cynical and opportunistic way.

In response Martin said he believed Sinn Fein had been dishonest about its links with the Provisional IRA, adding that there had been a lack of accountability over the Troubles.

'I don't see Sinn Fein as a Republican party. In the first instance, their actions not just in the past but up to the present day are the very antithesis about what Republicanism should mean. Republicanism to me is the capacity to unite Protestant and Catholic at the centre and Sinn Fein don't have that capacity.'

Martin said many people in the Republic found it hard to accept Sinn Fein at face value because of the 'murders and activities' the IRA was engaged in. Martin then reminded voters that Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein have conflicting policies on the economy - Fianna Fail is campaigning for a Yes vote in the referendum on the European fiscal treaty on May 31, and Sinn Fein is implacably opposed.

Sinn Fein president Gerry AdamsGoogle Images