Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin

Leader of Fianna Fail critical of Irish government’s lack of progress with Northern Ireland


Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin

Micheal Martin, leader of the main opposition party in Ireland, Fianna Fail, spoke out on Sunday criticizing the current Irish coalition government’s lack of involvement with Northern Ireland.

BBC News reports on Martin’s critical commentary which he delivered at the annual commemoration ceremony of Wolfe Tone, an Irish revolutionary leader, at Bodenstown Cemetery in Kildare.

Martin criticized the current Labour and Fine Gael coalition government as having "dramatically reduced its level of engagement with Northern affairs.”

"Given the effort that went into this process over a very long time by very many people,” said Martin, “this sort of disengagement and complacency by our own government is unacceptable.

"Unfortunately too many people today think that the work is over - that we can take for granted what has been achieved. This could be a mistake of historic proportions."

Martin went on to criticize current Taoiseach Enda Kenny of making “no attempt” to help progress the Northern Ireland peace process further.

Fianna Fail was in power continuously in Ireland from 1997 - 2011, a time period marked by great strides of progress within Northern Ireland, namely the Good Friday Agreement. The coalition government of Fine Gael and Labour replaced Fianna Fail as power holders last February.

Martin went on to call out the leading political parties in Northern Ireland, saying "It is at best foolish and at worst reckless to step back and believe that the DUP and Sinn Fein are capable of working in the interests of all groups.”

"They have constantly shown an interest in putting party interests ahead of broader interests," he said.

Gerry Adams, President of Sinn Fein, responded to Martin’s remarks, saying that Northern Ireland has only been implementing the policies of Fianna Fail.

"His attack on Sinn Fein is equally bogus," Adams said.

"The end of conflict, the peace process and the power sharing institutions are among the greatest achievements of modern years.

"Sinn Fein on the Executive is attempting, in the absence of fiscal powers, to manage a serious economic crisis and is succeeding much more effectively than Fianna Fail in government or in opposition has.

"Micheal Martin's comments have more to do with his fear of Sinn Fein in the south than a concern about the north."


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