Peter Robinson has called remarks made by Gerry Adams about the murder of two RUC officers “appalling,” and said the Sinn Fein leader should apologise.
The First Minister was commenting after Mr Adams suggested earlier this week that Harry Breen and Bob Buchanan had a “laissez-faire disregard” for their own security.
Chief Superintendent Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan were shot dead in an IRA ambush in 1989 as they crossed back into Northern Ireland from a meeting at Dundalk Garda station.
The Smithwick Tribunal found there had been Garda collusion in the murder.
The tribunal had been established by the Irish government in 2005 to investigate claims that at least one officer based in Dundalk had provided information to the IRA gang that ambushed the two RUC men.
In an interview with the Republic’s Newstalk radio station, Mr Adams said the two officers had been doing their jobs “in the same way as is my belief the IRA volunteers were doing their duty as they saw it”.
He also said his views on the killings – which he has since repeated in the Dail – reflected the contents of the Smithwick report.
Mr Adams said the evidence heard at the tribunal suggested that the senior officers seemed to think they were immune from attack.
However, his remarks have continued to attract fierce criticism across the political spectrum.
Mr Robinson, who is in Japan on a trade mission with Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, said Mr Adams’ laissez-faire remarks were “offensive”.
“I would have thought that someone who would recognise that victims are hurting in all of these circumstances, to make such casual remarks, about the death of somebody by murder from people that he was associated with seems entirely inappropriate,” he told the BBC.
“I just thought it was an appalling statement to make and he should regret making it and he should publicly apologise for it.”
The Sinn Fein president has repeatedly refused to back down over the controversial comments.
“I’ve made my position clear. I stand over the accuracy of the fact that those officers were at risk and I drew that from the report,” he said.
“I didn’t make it up. It’s in the report.
“I also think that the recommendations in the report should be acted upon with some common sense.”
Politicians on all sides in Dublin and Belfast reacted in disbelief after Mr Adams said the men effectively drove themselves to their own death.
Mr Adams claimed his comments echoed what was recorded by Judge Peter Smithwick at the end of an eight-year investigation, and said he does not need to be reminded that there are two families at the heart of the issue.
“We can go over this and over this and over this. I’ve already said it was not my intention to cause any further hurt to the families,” he said.
The Republic’s Justice Minister Alan Shatter has branded the comments as nauseating, Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers said they had been deeply insulting, while unionist politicians said Mr Adams’s remarks called into question his judgment.
But the Sinn Fein leader repeated on Friday that he stands by the remarks, which he described as accurate.
“In terms of causing hurt, that was never my intention to cause hurt,” Mr Adams said.
“I don’t need reminders from anyone that there are victims”.