SF trying to hijack 1916 to explain IRA away, says Burton
Tánaiste Joan Burton has accused Sinn Féin of seeking to "hijack the history of our country" in an attempt to "explain away" the IRA's campaign of violence.
In one of the most blistering attacks on Sinn Féin by a senior coalition figure, Ms Burton lashed out at the party's attempts to take control of the 1916 commemorations.
Gerry Adams' party had "precious little to do with the events of 1916" and was now trying to produce a "deliberate distortion of history", she said.
"But it's more than that," she said. "They are seeking to hijack the history of the country so as to explain away the IRA's campaign of sectarian violence and the subsequent criminality that it spawned.
"Frankly, many in Sinn Féin still struggle to accept the legitimacy of the State, while at the same time they tell us that they want to govern it.
"In fact, many in Sinn Féin can't even bring themselves to use the name of the State - the Republic of Ireland. We should see all of this for what it is. It is part self-delusion and part hypocrisy."
Ms Burton was speaking at the launch of the Labour Party 1916 centenary commemoration exhibition in Cork.
"The fact that Sinn Féin is choosing to mount its own particular commemorative events is a timely reminder of the arcane and mendacious theology of that party," she said.
In a separate address in Dublin, Sinn Féin president Mr Adams accused the Government of having a "partitionist mindset" which is limited to the 26 counties.
"A recent and perhaps frivolous example of this was Labour minister Aodhan Ó Riordain tweeting his annoyance at the branding of a chicken product from Tyrone as 'Irish'. He was protesting that this should be sold here," the Louth TD said.
"So was Micheál Martin's call for the suspension of the political institutions of the Good Friday Agreement and the Taoiseach's support for the move to adjourn the Assembly."
Mr Adams also insisted that the conflict in the North was over.
"Victims and survivors of the conflict must be given the strongest possible support and assistance," he said.