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Gerry Adams and Michéal Martin clash over the north

Michéal Martin said Gerry Adams had brushed off statements that deepened divisions in the north. Picture by Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams and his Fianna Fáil counterpart Micheal Martin have criticised each other over Northern Ireland.

The two leaders' statements came during a debate on the north in the Dáil on Wednesday night.

Mr Martin said the Fine Gael administration had "paid nowhere near enough attention to Northern Ireland".

He accused Sinn Féin of "agreeing with the government that everything was going fine in Stormont".

The Fianna Fáil leader said Mr Adams had often brushed off events and statements that deepened divisions north of the border.

He said ahead of the collapse of the institutions, both the DUP and Sinn Féin had dismissed suggestions that there were problems in the executive but they had become "more aggressive" towards each other last year.

"This culminated in the decision of Sinn Féin's leadership to instruct its Executive members to withdraw and cause the second election in a year," Mr Martin said.

But Mr Adams said Fianna Fáil leader was "speaking drivel".

"Last Friday, the taoiseach said that northern nationalists would never again be left behind by an Irish government – Teachta Martin's phony outrage at this would be amusing if it was not such a serious issue," he said.

“The reality is that nationalists in the north were abandoned for generations by successive Irish governments, but today, like a broken record, Teachta Martin repeats the sham argument about the two problem parties and accuses Sinn Féin of contriving to pull down the institutions or preventing them being reinstated."

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