Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness has said the DUP leader, Peter Robinson, had made a “gargantuan mistake” in deciding to pull back from supporting the construction of a peace centre at the site of the old Maze Prison.

Mr Robinson signalled his policy shift in a letter to DUP members earlier this week.

Speaking to RTÉ News this evening Martin McGuinness said it was very damaging for employment prospects and it also sends a very negative message about where the political leadership of unionism is at.

He said political unionism needs to realise that nothing can be gained by continually feeding the insatiable appetite of those who see life through a red, white and blue prisim.

He also questioned the attitude of some unionists to recent attacks on the PSNI and on Lord Mayor of Belfast, Sinn Féin councillor Máirtín Ó Mulleoir and said there had been an abdication of responsibility in failing to condemn some of the violence against the police.

Mr McGuinness said Sinn Féin “did change its position against the backdrop of being in government and obviously having a responsibility to support the police”.

“But here we find ourselves six years on and I, as a senior member of Sinn Féin and a minister in government, am now seriously questioning the commitment of unionist leaders to the police service.”