Micheál Martin accuses Taoiseach of being ‘afraid to speak up’

Fianna Fáil leader said Enda Kenny ‘has failed citizens’ on O’Brien row

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin TD has accused Taoiseach Enda Kenny of having “failed citizens”. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin TD has accused Taoiseach Enda Kenny of having “failed citizens”. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin TD has accused Taoiseach Enda Kenny of having “failed citizens” by not commenting on the controversy over publishing comments about businessman Denis O’Brien’s banking arrangements.

Mr Martin said he was pleased that the courts had confirmed that the media was free to report on Dáil comments by Independent TD Catherine Murphy relating to the Irish Bank Resolution Company (IBRC), formerly Anglo Irish Bank.

“However, this does not take away from the scale of the threat that this basic right faced,” Mr Martin said.

“Looking back over the past week, one of the most striking and disconcerting features of what has happened has been the utter failure of Taoiseach Enda Kenny to provide even basic leadership on the issue.”

On Tuesday the Government said it welcomed the clarification provided by Mr Justice Donald Binchy in the High Court.

“The right of Oireachtas members to exercise privilege is constitutionally protected and this has been reaffirmed by the judge. It is important that right is exercised responsibly and in the public interest and that the media are free to report fairly on such statements,” a Government spokesman said.

However, the Fianna Fáil leader said Mr Kenny’s “silence on the controversy has been deafening”.

Mr Martin went on to say Mr Kenny “has failed citizens in a very basic way”. The issue is expected to dominate Leaders’ Questions when the Dáil returns from recess next week.

“When he finally faces questions and is unable to hide from the issue any further, I look forward to his explanation of why he was afraid to speak up,” Mr Martin said.