GERRY Adams has called for all parties of the North of Ireland to unite in the face of austerity following the shock return of a majority Conservative government in the general election.
Speaking to The Irish Post this week, the Sinn Féin leader claimed: “Facing another five years of Tory rule means we must have powers transferred to Stormont so we can have locally accountable politicians in charge."
The alternative, he said, is "a cabinet of millionaires imposing bad policies on this part of Ireland from London without a mandate”.
Party colleague Paul Maskey, who retained his Belfast West seat this month, dismissed any suggestion that Sinn Féin's abstentionist policy poses a challenge for republicans.
"I have an office in London and I watch MPs falling asleep on the benches from my TV" he said.
"Martin McGuinness has already drafted a letter to David Cameron saying that we'll be negotiating a better deal for the North of Ireland,” he added.
Elsewhere First Minister and DUP leader Peter Robinson revealed that relations between his party and Sinn Féin would not be affected by strains exposed during heated and malicious campaigning on the election trail in the North.
He told The Irish Post: "We're all big boys now and have experience of getting knocks throughout elections. Our focus is now about getting the best deal for this part of the UK, getting the Stormont House Agreement back on track and making progress".
Results for the 18 MPs elected in the North produced high dramas last week– with Sinn Féin losing their coveted Fermanagh and South Tyrone seat to former UUP leader Tom Elliott.
The Unionist party also ousted the DUP's gospel-singing Reverend McCrea from parliament.
The final tally of seats settled at eight for the DUP, four for Sinn Féin, three for the SDLP, two for the UUP and one successful independent candidate, Lady Sylvia Hermon, retaining her seat in North Down.
Winning his tightly contested North Belfast seat for the DUP, deputy leader Nigel Dodds has since spoken of his relief at another nail-biting finish with Sinn Féin’s Gerry Kelly.
"The alternative to my election doesn't bear thinking about - having no voice in parliament" he said.
Refusing to speculate on who his party would now align with at Westminster, Mr Dodds insisted that the DUP MPs are "not in the pocket of the Tories or Labour".
"We are our free agents to act in our best interests," he added.