Martin says Government approach to past ‘highly partisan’

Fianna Fáil leader uses party’s 1916 commemoration to attack Sinn Féin

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has accused the Government of taking “a highly partisan” approach to Ireland’s past. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has accused the Government of taking “a highly partisan” approach to Ireland’s past. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times.

Sun, Apr 27, 2014, 16:11

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has accused the Government of taking “a highly partisan” approach to Ireland’s past.

“It has embraced an often tribal approach to sensitive issues and has comprehensively failed to show respect for traditions outside of those it sees as its own,’’ he added.

Mr Martin said nothing should be allowed to distract the 1916 commemorations in two years’ time from the focus of being about the Irish people.

Speaking today at the party’s 1916 commemoration in Arbour Hill, Dublin, Mr Martin also attacked Sinn Féin, claiming the party had zero claim to be the party of 1916.

He said the position of 1916 as a force for unity, and a foundation for a shared and progressive republicanism in Ireland, was under threat from Sinn Féin’s consistent campaign to falsify history to its own ends.

“It is not even the direct democratic successor of the party founded in 1905 by Arthur Griffith and which only ever won a majority when Eamon de Valera was its leader,” he added.

Mr Martin said the Provisional movement actively promoted the idea that it was what it called the “unbroken chain’’ from 1916 to today.

“Its leader has even gone so far as to say that there is no difference between Padraig Pearse and car bombers who targeted civilians in the last 40 years,’’ he added.