The DUP First Minister Peter Robinson has told Sinn Féin that if it hasn't got the "guts to govern" it should stand aside from the Northern Executive.
Mr Robinson also described the Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams as "delusional" and insisted the party has welshed on the Stormont House Agreement that it signed up to at Christmas but subsequently opposed over welfare reform.
“In spite of the publicly recorded facts showing beyond doubt or debate that Sinn Féin and the SDLP welshed on the Stormont House Agreement Gerry Adams is still attempting to not only avoid blame but gull his non-thinking adherents into believing it is ‘those evil unionists who are to blame’,” said Mr Robinson.
"Northern Ireland deserves better than this pathetic posturing and specious spinning. 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."
The DUP leader said that under devolution politicians must operate within the spending totals Stormont was 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,” he warned.
“If Sinn Féin is unable to do ‘tough government’ they should stand aside and let parties with the guts to govern do the job.”
He said the Sinn Féin strategy was “washing the Assembly towards the rocks” and that nobody other than the party leadership was to blame.
“To blame anyone else for the fiasco his party has created and his failure to provide leadership is not only delusional but political dishonesty of the foulest kind.”
In response, Mr Adams repeated that the “primary responsibility for the crisis facing the political institutions in the North lies with the British government”.
“The budget difficulties for the Executive are a consequence of savage cuts over recent years by the Tory government to the Block grant. That is not acceptable. Unionist parties have a duty and a responsibility to defend vulnerable citizens,” he said.
“Having the ‘guts to govern’ means standing up for citizens, all citizens, especially against wealthy elites who don’t care about the social and economic consequences of their policies,” he said.
Mr Adams said that if Mr Robinson was serious about making the institutions work “he needs to step up, reject bad British policy, and join with Sinn Féin in seeking to persuade the British government to agree a realistic funding budget for the Executive which delivers for citizens”.