Former Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has delivered a broadside against the new coalition government for “excluding” his party.
The new government was formed between Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Greens last weekend several months after the inconclusive general election result in February.
Sinn Féin won the popular vote in the proportional representation poll but did not run enough candidates to fully translate votes into seats and was unable to form a “coalition of the left” with other parties of similar views.
Delivering the oration at the funeral of senior republican Bobby Storey in Belfast on Tuesday, Mr Adams accused the Irish parties of “excluding” Sinn Féin, comparing the situation to when unionist parties in Northern Ireland refused to speak to them, then in protest at the actions of the IRA.
“This weekend saw the election of Micheál Martin as Taoiseach as part of the manoeuvre by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, aided and abetted by the Greens, to maintain the status quo and to prevent Mary Lou McDonald from becoming taoiseach,” he told the gathering at the republican plot at Milltown Cemetery.
“They are entitled to do that but their refusal to talk to the Sinn Féin leadership is a sad little undemocratic throwback to the way the unionist leaders used to behave.
“Denying Sinn Féin voters their right to be included in talks shows how far the Dublin establishment is prepared to go to minimise and to delay the ongoing process of change across this island, including the movement towards Irish unity.
“So, let me say loud and clear.
“They will fail. Just as unionists failed in their exclusion policies.”
Mr Adams also hit out at claims Sinn Féin is controlled by “shadowy figures”.
“We are an open democratic national movement with our elected leadership, led by two fine women and other national leaders and countless regional and local leaders,” he said.
“We are proud and glad that Bob and other former IRA volunteers are part of what we are.
“We are also proud of Bob and the others when they were IRA volunteers.
“They and their support base and republican Ireland defeated the British Army. They brought us and their political masters to the negotiating table.”
With reference to the portraits that will be hung in the new Taoiseach’s office, Mr Adams added: “Leo Varadkar has Michael Collins. Micheal Martin has De Valera. We have Bobby Storey.
“Bobby has done more for Irish freedom, peace and unity on this island than either Leo Varadkar or Micheal Martin.”