Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams has accused Unionists of failing to take a stand against sectarian violence in West Belfast.

Adams told a republican commemoration ceremony in the city that unionist politicians, loyalists and members of the Orange Order were failing to take a stand against those responsible for the recent disorder.

Speaking in the St James’s Area of West Belfast at a ceremony to remember those who died in the Troubles, Adams accused unionist ‘law and order’ parties of ‘deafening silence’ and ‘hypocrisy’.

The Irish Times reports on his claims that some Orange Order members are ‘in alliance’ with the UVF and the Progressive Unionist Party.

He said: “They have been deliberately stoking up tensions at interface areas with provocative marches.

“The DUP and UUP leaderships have allowed these organisations to set a violent sectarian agenda. As a consequence hundreds of members of the PSNI (police) have been injured, some seriously.”

The report says that Sinn Fein leaders have recently been talking up difficulties in the political process.

It says that much of the republican anger stems from a decision by First Minister Peter Robinson ‘in the absence of political consensus’ to withdraw support for a peace and reconciliation centre at the old Maze prison site.

Adams told the paper that the nationalist Short Strand in east Belfast has been under siege for much of the past year, while nationalists in Carrick Hill close to Belfast city centre have been subjected to sectarianism and threats.

He added: “There have been attacks on the homes of members of the Alliance party and their offices, as well as death threats against Sinn Féin elected officials.

“On the same day that a DUP Minister was warmly welcomed on the Falls Road, the mayor of Belfast was attacked and assaulted by a loyalist mob while carrying out his civic duties.

“Two weeks ago a young woman was shot five times by the UVF in East Belfast. The PSNI have accused that organisation of involvement in drug dealing, all forms of gangsterism, serious assaults and intimidation.”

Adams added that when dissident republicans killed PSNI officers and British soldiers, deputy leader Martin McGuinness stood ‘shoulder to shoulder with Peter Robinson and the chief constable’ to condemn those actions in ‘clear and robust’ language.

He said: “That’s what unionism needs: positive leaderships to build the process; to take a stand against illegal marches, sectarianism and violence, and the provocative actions of the Orange Order in Belfast.”