Gerry Adams among first to congratulate Jeremy Corbyn on Labour leadership victory

The new Labour leader was criticised for his links to the Sinn Fein president during his election campaign

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Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams was among the first to congratulate Jeremy Corbyn on his election as new Labour leader.

The controversial figure, who has been close to Mr Corbyn for many years, tweeted his “warmest congratulations”, calling him a ‘good friend of Ireland’.

The Irish nationalist, who is also a member of Teachta Dála, the Irish parliament, said:  “I have known Jeremy for many years.

“He is a good friend of Ireland and of the Irish peace process.

“I wish him well in his new and challenging role as leader of the British Labour Party and look forward to working with him in the time ahead to ensure that the gains of the peace process are built upon.”

Opponents attempted to use Mr Corbyn’s association with Mr Adams as a stick to beat him with during the election campaign.

Mr Adams has been accused of being a member of the IRA leadership since the 1970s – a claim he has repeatedly denied.

Last year he was arrested and questioned in connection with the abduction and murder of Jean McConville in 1972, but released without charge.

Families of IRA victims criticised Mr Corbyn

for failing to explicitly condemn the IRA last month.

He was asked whether he condemned what the paramilitary organisation did five times during an interview with BBC Radio Ulster, but failed to answer the question directly.