Friday 31 October 2014

Party chief claims peace process is 'neglected'

Published 28/04/2014 | 02:30

Kate Feeney, Anthony Greene and Lisa Chambers lead the 1916 commemorations at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Arbour Hill in Dublin.
Children taking part in the event.

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin has severely criticised the Irish and British governments for neglecting the peace process in Northern Ireland.

He said a "hands-off" approach to addressing the remaining issues in the peace process was not working.

Addressing his party's annual 1916 Rising Commemoration at Arbour Hill in Dublin, Mr Martin said the governments had allowed a growing dysfunction in the Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive.

"Unfortunately, the relations between our political leaders are becoming more superficial and focused on talk rather than action. Today there is nothing like the close working relationships between Albert Reynolds and John Major, Bertie Ahern and Tony Blair and Brian Cowen and Gordon Brown," he said.

Mr Martin said it was long past time for the governments to stop talking about how great relations were between them and instead to achieve real progress.

Ruling out any chance of a Fianna Fail-Sinn Fein coalition, he severely criticised leader Gerry Adams, saying the party had zero claim to be the party of 1916.

"The Provisional movement actively promotes the idea that it is what they call the "unbroken chain" from 1916 to today. Its leader has even gone as far as to say that there is no difference between Padraig Pearse and car bombers who targeted civilians in the last 40 years. There is no greater insult to the men and women of 1916 than to compare them to the Provisional movement of recent times," Mr Martin said.

He also accused the Government of taking a highly partisan approach to Ireland's past, saying nothing should be allowed to distract from the 1916 commemorations.

Asked about tonight's Dublin West convention for the by-election caused by the resignation of Patrick Nulty, Mr Martin refused to be drawn on who he would prefer to see.

Anita Lenihan, the sister of former Finance Minister Brian Lenihan, has declared her intention to stand, while sitting councillor David McGuinness is also going forward.

Irish Independent

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