SINN Fein president Gerry Adams has serious questions to answer as further accusations emerge of him covering up his brother's alleged sexual abuse.
The controversy over Liam Adams continues as Taoiseach Brian Cowen and Gordon Brown meet today to break the deadlock on devolution talks.
Pressure has intensified on Mr Adams after the latest cover-up accusation, which comes as Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness also meet in an effort to defuse tensions between the DUP and Sinn Fein.
Mr Adams' niece, Aine Tyrell, questioned the Sinn Fein president's claim that he could not tell party colleagues about allegations his brother Liam had raped his daughter because she had demanded her anonymity be protected.
"I didn't know Liam was in Sinn Fein but had Gerry bothered to tell me, I would have waived my anonymity without hesitation," said Ms Tyrell.
"I'd have accompanied him to meet his colleagues in Sinn Fein about what Liam had done so they could expel him from the party but Gerry never gave me that option."
In an interview with the 'Sunday Tribune', Ms Tyrell said she had never asked Mr Adams to protect her anonymity but that she had repeatedly asked him to address the issue of his brother working on youth projects in west Belfast.
"I said I was very concerned that Liam was seeking jobs working with children," said Ms Tyrell. "Gerry told me that was Liam's way of trying to make up to the community for what he had done."
The PSNI want to interview Liam Adams, who walked into a garda station in Sligo on December 21. He was released hours later because the process to obtain a European arrest warrant had not been completed.
Ms Tyrell's uncle, Bob Corrigan, who served 10 years as an IRA prisoner in Long Kesh, called for Mr Adams to resign as Sinn Fein president and to leave his seats in Westminster and Stormont.
Mr Corrigan said Mr Adams had failed in his responsibilities as both a political representative and an uncle.
The growing disquiet in republican areas as further allegations of sex abuse cover-ups circulate has distracted many activists from the growing tensions over the process of devolving policing and justice.
Speaking on RTE's 'This Week' programme yesterday, Mr Cowen said he was very concerned at the failure of Sinn Fein and the DUP to overcome their differences.
"We're in a serious situation," he said. "Obviously, the ideal situation is for Martin McGuinness as deputy first minister and First Minister Peter Robinson to come to an agreement on these outstanding issues that have to be resolved and working with the other parties that are part of the process."
A Downing Street spokesman said this afternoon's talks are "part of ongoing discussions on Northern Ireland".
After Sinn Fein's ardcomhairle meeting on Saturday, Mr Adams raised tensions when he said: "The failure thus far by the DUP to honour this St Andrew's obligation is symptomatic of a much bigger problem -- their refusal to work partnership government."
Mr Adams said today's meeting between Martin McGuinness and Peter Robinson would be a "critical and defining engagement", and this was interpreted as a veiled threat that Sinn Fein would walk away from the talks.
But DUP Westminster MP Jeffrey Donaldson said: "I think it's time that they (Sinn Fein) calmed down a bit and let's engage to resolve the outstanding issues."
Alliance Party leader David Ford is expected to be nominated as the North's justice minister after devolution and he says that Sinn Fein and the DUP must knuckle down to secure a deal.