“Sinn Féin has, at best, walked off the pitch. At worst, it is an enormous act of political cowardice.”

This episode from yesterday’s Dail session is worth running backwards somewhat, just to see what people make of it… So I’m starting with Gerry Adams’ response a pretty full blooded attack on his party’s part in the Fresh Deal agreement courtesy of Michael O’Regan (KStr):

Mr Adams said the Tánaiste’s remarks were “incoherent, barely comprehensible and have no credibility whatsoever’’. Without the recent agreement the door would have been open for a return to British direct rule and the full weight of the Tory assault on the welfare state. “The majority of citizens support the political institutions and want them to work.’’

Now here’s Ms Burton’s incoherent, barely comprehensible remarks (KStr):

Joan Burton said the major change in the recent agreement, A Fresh Start, was allowing welfare reform to be legislated for at Westminster. This appeared to be “fairly spectacular delegation of responsibility’’ by Sinn Féin, she added.

“Rather than confronting the issue in Northern Ireland, and taking responsibility for its decisions, it has simply ceded decision-making power to the British parliament where its members do not even take their seats,’’ she added. “What does that say about a party that has consistently called on the Irish Government to stand up to the troika, the European Union and international bodies ?’’

Ms Burton said it showed, in her mind, Sinn Féin would not be remotely capable of taking responsibility itself, unlike the Government which negotiated concessions that reduced the debt burden by tens of billions of euro.

“At the first sign of a major political challenge, Sinn Féin has, at best, simply walked off the pitch,’’ she added. “At worst, it is an enormous act of political cowardice.’’