Thursday 29 September 2016

Michael Martin: Cameron was 'reckless' in holding the Brexit referendum

Kevin Doyle Group Political Editor

Published 24/06/2016 | 11:27

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin. Picture:Arthur Carron
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin. Picture:Arthur Carron

FIANNA FAIL leader Michael Martin has described the decision by the UK government to hold a referendum on the EU as “reckless”.

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Mr Martin said he believes it was a “somewhat irresponsible” decision by David Cameron and expressed fears the result will “retard the ambition of Europe into the future”.

“I understand he had his domestic pressures and so on. But I think there was very little preparation put into it. We know from our own referendums that one has to prepare over the long-term for such an event.

“I just got the sense that they almost stumbled into the referendum in the aftermath of the General Election. I was very worried for the get-go that this result could happen because the preparation wasn’t there,” Mr Martin said.

He also warned that our government will now have to be more “cautious” when preparing October’s budget.

Earlier this week Finance Minister Michael Noonan indicated that he would have a €1bn to spare to tax cuts and spending increases.

Mr Martin, whose party needs to give its approval to the Budget, said: “I do think caution will have to be applied. But we’ve just had the result and I don’t think we have to rush into this.”

He said money markets were very volatile but they might settle and Budget and spending decisions could be made in the coming weeks.

“I think we need to study that one carefully,” he said.

Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath said the economic fallout from a Brexit will take time to become clear.

“While the reaction on the financial markets has been swift and severe, a fuller assessment of the impact on our economy will take some time to emerge.

“It has to be recognised that the drop in the value of sterling has caused an immediate problem for Irish firms exporting to the UK and in the wider conduct of cross border commerce,” he said.

 Mr McGrath called on the Government to begin the process of preparing a new economic statement to replace the one issued by Mr Noonan earlier this week. 

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