News Irish News

Wednesday 21 August 2019

Boris Johnson hasn't shown 'slightest understanding' of Brexit's impact on Ireland - Martin

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Boris Johnson has failed “to show the slightest understanding of the Good Friday Agreement or the deep problems raised by Brexit,” Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has said.

In a scathing assessment of the incoming British Prime Minister, Mr Martin said the shift of power in London “quite rightly raises enormous fears for the future of relations between the governments and also London’s policy towards Northern Ireland”.

He claimed that anybody who met Mr Johnson during his time as Foreign Secretary will tell that he didn’t understand the impact of Brexit on this island.

“It is clear that he is single-minded in his ambition, but I don’t think anyone can credibly say that he has thought-through how to promote prosperity and reconciliation in Northern Ireland.

Newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

“And to be honest no one really seems to know what his beliefs are in relation to Brexit other than wanting to raise the flag of victory at Halloween,” he said.

After winning the Conservative Party leadership contest earlier today, Mr Johnson reiterated his commitment to take the UK out of the European Union on October 31 with or without a deal.

Read more here: Delight and dismay as Boris Johnson becomes Tory leader

Speaking at the MacGill Summer School in Glenties, Co Donegal, Mr Martin said: “Three months ago he voted for the Withdrawal Agreement.  Now he says it must be buried forever.

“He is apparently about to install a staff which is on the fundamentalist wing of the issue and full of people who have been at best indifferent to the impact of Brexit on this island.”

However, Mr Martin said the Irish government must find a way to work with the new Prime Minister.

“Over the next few weeks the Taoiseach and Prime Minister will meet to discuss Brexit.

“Both leaders should be reminded that this is not just a game of one upmanship –that Brexit is far too serious to play domestic politics with,” he said.

The Fianna Fáil leader, who is propping up the Government with a confidence and supply arrangement, called on Leo Varadkar and Boris not to carry out “every disagreement in public”.

Mr Martin said the Conservative Party leader has “boxed himself into a corner”.

“But I think the defining feature of his career to date has been either through self interest or in terms of analysing the set of circumstances facing him, he has managed to adapt and change course. It seems to me in terms of the UK's own sustainability, that needs to happen in terms of its relationship with the EU and its relationship with Ireland.”

Read more here: It's Boris: Johnson confirmed as new Conservative leader... and next UK Prime Minister

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News