Friday 21 July 2017

Britain is trying to 'repeal the 20th century', claims Martin

FF leader Micheál Martin led a two-pronged attack on Brexit. Photo: Gerry Mooney
FF leader Micheál Martin led a two-pronged attack on Brexit. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Britain is trying "to repeal the 20th century" and the response from Ireland has been a "shambles", Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has said.

In a two-pronged attack, Mr Martin has accused Enda Kenny's Government of failing to put an adequate response to Brexit in place and it is already "causing real damage on this island".

He said the UK "has taken the route of a backward-looking nationalism, suspicious of outsiders and committed to the historically false idea that you don't need strong international bodies to secure lasting cooperation and prosperity between nations".

Read more: Comment: Winter is coming... but relations are thawing with the Houses of the North

Speaking at the Seán Moylan Commemoration in Co Cork, Mr Martin warned that "by any measure" Ireland is facing "a challenging moment in our history".

"We have come through a deep recession and we must address a broad sense of a country which has become more divided and more unfair.

"On top of this we face rising threats from an international situation which could cause deep, long-term damage.

"These threats cannot be tackled by sitting back and hoping everything will turn out all right. We desperately need a new urgency and ambition in our Government," he said.

Mr Martin said Brexit is already undermining Irish businesses and communities.

"Given how much the UK market is worth for agri-food exports, rural communities are facing the hardest impact.

"The unprecedented decline in sterling may soon be followed by new barriers to trade. We can't stand by and let this slow-motion crash happen," he said.

Meanwhile, in an unusual move, the North's first and deputy first ministers penned a joint article for today's 'Belfast Telegraph'.

Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness said they came from different perspectives on Brexit but would commit to working together.

"Our parties will continue to stand up for their core beliefs where necessary - in private and public," they wrote.

"This does not mean filling the airwaves with endless squabbles, making the Assembly a by-word for division. It's vital for the peace process that politics can move on."

Irish Independent

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