UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman is “ignorant” on issues in Ireland and the Middle East, according to Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald.
In an interview with Sky News, Ms McDonald said Ms Braverman and the UK Government “at sea and ignorant of Irish affairs”.
Ms Braverman recently described pro-Palestine protests in London as an “assertion of primacy by certain groups – particularly Islamists – of the kind we are more used to seeing in Northern Ireland”.
While she later clarified she was referring to dissident republicans, she has been heavily criticised for comments.
Ms McDonald said Ms Braverman’s comments were “extraordinary”.
“They were to say the least unhelpful, in as much as in the end they are a distraction from a situation that could not be more serious,” she said.
"I think it would suit her better and the Government better to join with others and call for a ceasefire.
"If the idea is simply to create division or arouse controversy, then she has achieved those objectives."
Ireland and Palestine
Ms McDonald compared issues in Palestine with those in Ireland and said the Irish people had a deep and widespread affiliation with Palestinians for historical and contemporary reasons.
"Ireland is non-aligned and militarily neutral, but we are not neutral when it comes to the issue of international law and we're not neutral when it comes to the right of Palestinian people to self-determination,” she said.
"We're not neutral when we say that Israel must be held to account for decades, generations of human rights violations.
"We also recognise that to get to a place of peace and settlement, you do have to have an inclusive process. We've learned that in Ireland, haven't we?
"That's the only thing that works."
This weekend, Sinn Féin members will meet in Athlone for its Ard Fheis, featuring two days of speeches, policy discussions and media interviews.
Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast, Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty said it is a time of “real hope and opportunity” for the party.