SINN Fein deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald has defended the party following an attack by Tanaiste Joan Burton in the Dail yesterday.
Chaos erupted in after Ms McDonald raised the issue of child abuse carried out by suspected paedophile Domhnall O'Lubhlai.
The Labour party leader immediately brought to bring the debate back to Sinn Fein’s recent abuse controversy.
She incensed several Sinn Fein TDs by going as far as saying that ‘paedophilia and child abuse’ has been a ‘problem’ within the republican movement.
"We know from the discussion previously, and by the acknowledgements of your party, that there has been a problem of paedophilia, and of sexual abuse, particularly involving children, within the republican movement," Ms Burton said.
However this morning, MS McDonald told NewsTalk Breakfast that the attack was a slur on the character of those within Sinn Fein.
“There’s a big difference between robust adversarial exchanges, and slurs that are a direct attack on a person’s character and a person’s good name that you would only get away with within the chamber”, she said.
“Yesterday what should have happened is the Tanaiste should have withdrawn the defamatory element of her comment.
“Rather than answer the question Joan Burton unleashed a tirade in which she said that Sinn Fein had overseen and covered up the abuse of children.”
She said that most of the Sinn Fein TDs have children or grandchildren.
“We are people of good character, we are people of integrity.
“We will not sit in a chamber and have the likes of that abuse and slur cast at us with no intervention from the Ceann Comhairle to steady things or to keep things right, and simply take it on the chin.
“It’s not the way for the Dail chamber to function and it’s not what I want”, she said.