The Sinn Féin leader has said that a letter from Sabina Higgins regarding the war in Ukraine was "clearly misinterpreted by some".

Mary Lou McDonald said the letter was a "very honest plea for diplomacy and dialogue rather than conflict".

In her letter, which was published in the Irish Times last week, Ms Higgins called for a negotiated settlement of the war in Ukraine.

In a statement this week, Ms Higgins she said the letter was written in a personal capacity and posted on her dedicated section of the President's website as some people had not been able to access it online.

The letter was later removed from the website.

Speaking at an event organised by the Muslim Sisters of Eire at the Phoenix Park, Ms McDonald added that "for peace to triumph, [Vladimir] Putin needs to stop his criminal invasion and bombardment of the Ukrainian people.

"And there has to be dialogue and engagement. That's how wars and conflicts end. They end because people talk to each other."

Ms McDonald said that she did not have a problem with the letter being posted on the President.ie website, given that other material has been published there too.

Yesterday, Taoiseach Micheal Martin has rejected suggestions the letter had caused embarrassment for the Government.

He said Sabina Higgins had clarified the situation and that it was time to move on from the controversy.