Sinn Féin failed even the most basic standards of republicanism in the way it handled the revelations from Maíria Cahill about an alleged sexual abuse cover-up, the Fianna Fáil leader has said.
Micheál Martin said that while Ms Cahill’s revelations were shocking, the disinterest of the “modern” faces in Sinn Féin to finding the truth was even more shocking.
“They are happy to collude in an approach which again seeks to undermine the victim,” he said.
“The measure of a republic is how it treats its weakest citizens and the measure of true republicans is how they put the interests of citizens ahead of those of party and faction,” Mr Martin said. “By any measure, Sinn Féin is failing even the most basic standards of republicanism.”
Mr Martin said no group which refused to respect the will of the Irish people has the right to call itself republican. “No party which puts blind loyalty to its movement ahead of basic concepts of justice has anything to do with republicanism.”
He was speaking at Fianna Fáil's annual Wolfe Tone commemoration at Bodenstown, Co Kildare today.
To loud applause, he said the IRA never had, and never would have, a right to call themselves the republican movement. “In 30 years of their illegitimate campaign, they never won more than a fraction of the Irish public to their side.”
He said certain groups had almost debased the word republicanism by their actions. “They have caused incredible damage to republicanism by their illegitimate campaigns of violence, waged in the face of the opposition of the overwhelming majority of Irish citizens and where the interests of their organisations have been put ahead of the interests of the Irish people,” he said.