Arlene Foster is 'running scared' from the United Ireland debate, Sinn Fein has claimed
The unionist leader was also accused of trying to drag Northern Ireland, which voted heavily to Remain during last June's in-out vote, out of the European Union by siding with the Tories.
Sinn Fein’s Chris Hazzard took aim at Ms Foster today after she said she was “very confident” the long-proposed border poll on a unified Ireland was unlikely.
Mr Hazzard dismissed her claim Sinn Fein were unfairly utilising fury at the Brexit vote to strengthen the party’s United Ireland campaign.
He said: “The Tory government's attempt to drag us out of the EU against the democratic wishes of the majority of people in the north has put the debate on Irish unity front and centre in the political agenda.
"The Good Friday Agreement contains provision for a referendum on Irish unity and that cannot be swept aside by Arlene Foster or anyone else.
"Her comments are another example of the arrogance of the DUP."
He said she was “running scared” and showing “arrogance and contempt for the democratic process”.
Ms Foster continues to lead the DUP despite calls to step down following revelations of a disastrous policy earlier this year, which cost the Northern Irish taxpayer hundreds of millions of pounds.
The so-called 'Cash for Ash' scandal saw farmers and business owners rewarded with a £1.60 subsidy for every £1 of green heating sources burned – but crucially now cap was introduced.
Arlene Foster is under increasing pressure after a disastrous RHI scheme and power-sharing breakdown
This resulted in a situation in which 'the more you burn, the more you earn', with one farmer receiving £1m for heating an empty shed non-stop.
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An election was called when she refused to accept responsibility for the disaster, resulting in the best ever result for Sinn Fein, who won 27 seats to the DUP's 28.
Chris Hazzard, centre, with fellow Sinn Fein figures Martin O'Muilleoir and Michelle O'Neil
Under the Northern Irish power-sharing agreement, nationalists and unionists must both enter government together. Despite lengthly talks since the March election, however, no government has been formed.
This is partly due to red-line disagreements between the two parties, such as gay marriage, with several DUPs threatening to quit their party if they supported Sinn Fein's calls for marriage equality.
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Martin McGuinness and Tony Blair look on at Stormont Parliament Buildings in Belfast in 2007
The DUP's Jim Wells said simply: "Peter will not marry Paul in Northern Ireland."
Ms Foster said today she had no concern a border poll would be called, despite huge anger surrounding Northern Ireland’s potential future outside of the EU.
She said: “"I'm very confident about that.
"One of the difficuwlties with Brexit is the fact that people are superimposing Brexit on another issue, which of course in Scotland is independence and in Northern Ireland is a united Ireland.”