Sunday 25 September 2016

Martin: It's not my responsibility to visit every affected area

Philip Ryan, Political Correspondent

Published 07/01/2016 | 02:30

Micheál Martin visited Cork
Micheál Martin visited Cork

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has defended only visiting areas devastated by floods in his native Cork over the Christmas break.

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Fianna Fáil has been critical of the Taoiseach's response to the floods, which saw Enda Kenny only visit parts of his own constituency of Mayo during the first days of the worst flooding to hit the country since records began. Mr Martin admitted he only visited areas of Cork badly hit by Storm Frank - but insisted it was not his responsibility to visit any other areas of the country as he was not the Taoiseach.

"The Taoiseach is Taoiseach of the country. I'm not Taoiseach of the country - he's the executive in charge, come on now, let's get straight about this," he said.

"I have visited areas that were well outside my constituency, but that's not the point. The point is I got a first-hand view of what was going on, on the ground," the Cork South Central TD said.

After public pressure, Mr Kenny visited areas of Athlone in Westmeath that were devastated by floods.

However, local Fianna Fáil TD Robert Troy claimed the Taoiseach arrived in the constituency "under a veil of secrecy" and only visited party supporters affected by the torrential rain: "He had a press conference in the confines of the army barracks because he didn't want any of the public to meet him and when he did finally get out of the confines of the army barracks he went and met some of his own party supporters who were affected by this issue, who he knew wouldn't challenge him," Mr Troy said.

The Taoiseach's spokesman hit back, insisting the Government's response to the floods has been comprehensive to date and is not yet complete.

"Micheál Martin continues to play politics with people's trauma and, while it is no surprise, it diminishes him and the local heroes around the country who, unlike him, actually made a difference," he said.

Earlier, Mr Martin said Fine Gael would "decimate" and "privatise" public services if re-elected. He also attacked Mr Kenny's plan to introduce a US-style tax system in Ireland.

Irish Independent

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