Tuesday 17 January 2017

Micheál Martin slams UK Brexit ministers as 'cavalier and grossly irresponsible'

Published 23/10/2016 | 13:03

Micheal Martin
Micheal Martin

MICHEÁL Martin has slammed the British government's handling of Brexit.

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He described the handling of the vote as "shambolic".

He said: "None of the people who argued for Brexit prepared plans for actually achieving the result – other than the arrogant belief that the world, including Europe, would rush to trade with Britain."

Mr Martin also accused British ministers responsible for negotiating Brexit of being "cavalier and grossly irresponsible".

"They have been making it up as they go along, and after four months have yet to say what they are looking for other than to keep all the good bits, dump everything they don’t like, make their own rules and pay for nothing," he said.

Mr Martin made the remarks at the annual commemoration of Theobold Wolfe Tone, at Bodenstown, this afternoon.

He also backed Hillary Clinton as his preferred choice to win next month's US Presidential election arguing that Donald Trump shares values with the "extreme right" in Europe.

He noted that the election is little over two weeks away and raised his concern at the behaviour of billionaire tycoon and reality TV star Mr Trump, who has made anti-immigrantion policies the cornerstone of his campaign.

"The behaviour of the Republican candidate has a frightening amount in common with extreme right parties in Europe," Mr Martin said.

"In contrast, Hillary Clinton has been a resolute voice for decency and democratic values," he added of the Democratic candidate.

He called Ms Clinton "a great friend of Ireland".

"When I dealt with her as a minister I was always struck not just by her professionalism, but also by her commitment to giving voice to the voiceless and using her power to help others," Mr Martin recalled.

"I for one have no difficulty saying that Hillary Clinton is the only choice for people who care for the success of America and its role as the world’s leading democracy.," he added.

Mr Martin also took the opportunity to claim that his party's influence on the minority government has "succeeded in stopping many of the most damaging Fine Gael policies."

Mr Martin also took a swipe at Social Protection minister Leo Varadkar when he highlighted hospital waiting lists.

He accused former health minister Mr Varadkar of being "PR-obsessed".

He said health minister Simon Harris is "a more careful successor" and argued this "has simply confirmed that the government has no health policy".

Mr Varadkar - widely seen as being the front-runner to succeed Taoiseach Enda Kenny as Fine Gael leader is increasingly becoming the focus of Fianna Fáil attacks.

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