THE assertion by First Minister Peter Robinson this week that Sinn Fein has “politicised” the Irish language has been rejected by Gerry Adams.

During a visit to Enniskillen on Monday night, Mr. Adams, the Sinn Fein President, told The Impartial Reporter that the Irish language is “only being politicised by the DUP”. “Of course it is,” he said.

DUP MLA Gregory Campbell mocked Sinn Fein’s use of the Irish language and directed his comments specifically at Mr. Adams during his party’s conference in Belfast on Saturday.

“On behalf of our party let me say clearly, and slowly so that Caitroina Ruane and Gerry Adams understand, we will never agree to an Irish language act at Stormont and we will treat their entire wish list as no more than toilet paper. They better get used to it,” said Mr. Campbell.

“I think Gregory was playing to the audience,” responded Mr. Adams. “I think that toilet humour may have its place. I can understand why people would feel offended.” Speaking to this newspaper before his party hosted a ‘community engagement meeting’ at Enniskillen Hotel, Mr. Adams declined to rate Mr. Robinson’s leadership when asked.

“That’s a matter for Peter and for his party – we are not that focused on how they go forward. He has responsibility. His job is made more difficult by some of the no men in his party, but we have learned that the only way to give leadership is to do so positively and that’s what we try to do no matter what the challenges are.” Sinn Fein MP Michelle Gildernew has previously described a possible pact between the DUP and the UUP in Fermanagh-south Tyrone ahead of next year’s general election as “sectarian”.

But just a fortnight ago, Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness, the Deputy First Minister proposed forming a pro-agreement pact with the SDLP in this constituency. However, the SDLP rejected it.

Asked if a deal of this kind could in fact be seen as “sectarian”, Mr. Adams said: “No. We want to try and develop a pro-agreement axis in politics here and that’s bigger than party politics. There is an anti-agreement axis; it is very vocal and is now dictating the pace to the leaders of unionism, to mainstream unionism. We want to see all political parties that are pro-agreement setting their face of the type of agenda that is about sectarianism.

With the election six months away, Mr. Adams said he doesn’t “contemplate failure” in getting Ms. Gildernew re-elected but when asked if he was confident that she would win the seat he said: “No - you cannot ever take the electorate for granted”.

He added: “Michelle could stand on her own record; she is young woman, a mother, as a Minister in her time she did marvellous work and she doesn’t have a sectarian bone in her body. She represents everybody in this constituency and advocates for everybody.” Both Mr. Adams and Ms. Gildernew took part in a question and answer session during the public meeting on issues such as austerity, welfare reform, the past, the Irish language and Sinn Fein’s relationship with unionists.