Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams has knocked back calls for the Irish government to apologise for the emergence of the IRA in the 1970s.
He said it was spurious for Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson to demand a formal acknowledgement that the Republic's authorities should have cracked down on the terror group in its infancy.
"The IRA is not the creation of any Dublin government," said Mr Adams. "Whatever the Irish Government may have to apologise for - whether it's the heavy gang, whether it's the brutality of prisoners in Portlaoise, whether it's the failure of successive governments attacking the British in the Dublin-Monaghan bombings and other collusion - I don't think it has any apologies to make."
Unionists have argued the Irish Government should have intervened in its early activity in the Republic to limit the violence.
Mr Adams insisted there was no connection between the Irish Government and the IRA. He added that the terror group no longer exists before criticising paramilitary displays at the funeral of Real IRA boss Alan Ryan in Dublin. Shots were fired over the gangster's coffin by masked men.
"The IRA is gone. We should not confuse those little maverick groups who paraded around this city recently. We should not confuse them with the IRA," said the Co Louth TD. "At the time there was war, the IRA fought the war. The war was over. The IRA took that opportunity for peace."
This came just hours before a special debate on the issue in Stormont, where the DUP had indicated it would put forward a motion in Northern Ireland's regional administration to formally request an apology.
DUP leader Mr Robinson had insisted there was a "clear connection" between what the IRA did in its infancy and the Government in Ireland.
He made the comments after the sole survivor and families of victims of an IRA massacre last week met Taoiseach Enda Kenny, calling for him to say sorry for the Government's failure to not doing more to solve the crime. In a statement after the meeting, the Taoiseach said he would reflect and insisted that the IRA was the common enemy of the people of the whole island.
Commenting on the issue of an apology, Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore insisted that the Irish Government worked hard to combat the IRA throughout the Troubles. He said: "Successive Irish governments worked very hard to crack down, and very successfully crack down, on the IRA and on terrorists organisations."