Martin will not do business with Sinn Féin no matter who leads it
Fianna Fáil leader criticises Adams’s party for always ‘putting provisional movement first’
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said Sinn Féin was unsuitable for government and Fianna Fáil would not do business with them. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has insisted the party will not do business with Sinn Féin, regardless of who leads the party.
Speaking at the party’s presidential dinner in the Burlington Hotel in Dublin on Saturday night, Mr Martin strongly criticised Sinn Féin for always “putting the provisional movement first”.
The party is unsuitable for government and Fianna Fáil will not do business with them, Mr Martin added.
“They might be new leaders but they are not new faces. For one moment let’s assume that Sinn Féin will act against type and actually hold a democratic election for its next leader.
“The fact is that every one of their potential leaders joined Sinn Féin before the ceasefires and has repeatedly defended the Provisional IRA’s campaign.”
Mr Martin said the leadership of Sinn Féin involved itself in an epidemic of bullying of elected councillors and signed up the anti-worker agenda of taxing and undermining the private sector.
Sinn Féin party chairman Declan Kearney on Saturday hit out at coverage of bullying allegations saying the media was ignoring the party’s “charter of ethics”.
Earlier, the party leader criticised Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s overreliance on spin and media.
Mr Varadkar is image over action and brand rather than policy, the Cork South Central TD added.
Fianna Fáil must combat the efforts of the Strategic Communications Unit and protect the independent media, Mr Martin stressed.
“So let’s all be clear what we are facing into in the next few months. The spin machine will reach a whole new level and the effort to sell political messages using public money will reach into every community.
“Our response has to be equally determined. We have to redouble our efforts in the Dáil and throughout the country. We have to challenge them and we have to push for action on urgent issues.”
Housing would continue to be the number one issue facing the country yet the Taoiseach and the Government had sought to play the reality down, Mr Martin said.
There was a strategy to portray the crisis as “not that bad” but it had backfired, the party leader added.
“After only a few months in office he seems to think that putting on a hard hat and wearing high visibility jackets shows that things are moving. He seems to have no understanding of just how many people are impacted by the failure to address housing pressures, evident five years ago, would lead inevitably to this emergency.”