Peter Robinson slams Sinn Fein's 'pathetic posturing'
First Minister Peter Robinson has challenged Sinn Fein to face up to tough decisions on welfare reform - or stand down from the Executive.
As the row over benefits changes spilled into the Assembly's summer recess, the DUP leader warned that the collapse of Stormont is inevitable unless republicans can help make devolution work.
With ongoing negotiations apparently suspended, Mr Robinson's latest attack came after Gerry Adams warned the future of the Assembly and Executive is "hanging by a thread".
The Sinn Fein leader said the Good Friday Agreement has faced many challenges since 1998, but Tory austerity cuts represented "the gravest threat yet to the political institutions".
And referring to the Stormont House Agreement reached in December, Mr Adams argued the DUP was still refusing to honour social security protection safeguards, while London intended to impose further cuts of £15bn.
But the DUP leader decribed this as "pathetic posturing and specious spinning" and insisted: "What we need is leadership from republicans and nationalists."
"They should stop looking over their shoulders at the anti-austerity cranks who advocate spending other people's money and accumulating debt for future generations," he said.
"We are required under the devolution settlement to operate within the spending totals we are allocated. Of course everyone wants to have more funding and we should continue to ensure we get a fair deal taking into account our special circumstances but unless we are prepared to operate the devolution system we all agreed, then collapse is inevitable."
And describing Mr Adams as "delusional", he said the Louth TD was still attempting to not only avoid blame but convince "his non-thinking adherents into believing it is 'those evil unionists who are to blame'."