Tánaiste’s pledges are ‘empty rhetoric’ says Micheál Martin

Gerry Adams says Taoiseach needs to live up to peace process responsibilities

Micheál Martin: said Joan Burton “specialised in a major conjuring trick of both being part of the Government and distancing herself from it”. Photograph: Peter Thursfield

Micheál Martin: said Joan Burton “specialised in a major conjuring trick of both being part of the Government and distancing herself from it”. Photograph: Peter Thursfield

Sat, Jul 12, 2014, 01:00

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has described Tánaiste Joan Burton’s pledges of major change as “empty rhetoric”.

He claimed Ms Burton “specialised in a major conjuring trick of both being part of the Government and distancing herself from it”.

During the Dáil debate on the Cabinet reshuffle, Mr Martin said that in Ms Burton’s record as Minister for Social Protection, “the false claim that she has been a lone fighter for greater fairness is exposed. Time after time she has implemented changes and cuts while trying to pretend that they were socially progressive when they were the exact opposite”.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams criticised Taoiseach Enda Kenny for failing to mention the North, both when he was elected in 2011 and in yesterday’s debate. The peace process was facing fresh challenges.

Undermine

“The anti-agreement elements are renewing efforts to undermine and destroy the power-sharing and all-Ireland political institutions,” he said.

He warned that the Government “needs to be seized by the urgency of the current situation. There is an onus on it to take a lead in defending the peace process and ensuring the necessary momentum for change is reinvigorated.”

Mr Adams said the Taoiseach “is a co-equal guarantor of the Good Friday agreement and it is time the Government lived up to that responsibility. It should do so not only on the day before 12 July but every day”.

Independent TD Catherine Murphy wished those who had been promoted well but said there was no doubt “that this is still the same Government that was elected in 2011”.