Raymond McCartney said:
“Sinn Féin remains totally committed to the political institutions set up under the Good Friday Agreement.
“We have consistently called for all-party negotiations to tackle the logjam in the political process.
“Martin McGuinness has called for a lifting of the penalties being imposed by Tory millionaires to allow negotiations to proceed in a constructive manner.
“Sinn Féin has also been lobbying for increased powers to be transferred to the Assembly and the all-island bodies.
“The whole notion of the Assembly being suspended for a ‘devolution holiday’ is frankly insulting to the people who elect us.
“Sinn Féin is totally opposed to direct rule in any form.
“I would challenge any politician to highlight the benefits British direct rule ministers have brought to the North of Ireland. And given that the Tory government in London is driving millions of people further into poverty who would seriously want to hand them over the reins of power?
“I challenge those who are semi-detached from responsibility and engaged in backroom briefing to work directly with Sinn Féin and other parties rather than being engaged in the sound-bite politics of despair.”