Charlie Flanagan accuses Fianna Fail of 'game playing' over government formation
FOREIGN Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan has accused Fianna Fáil of “game playing” as the deadlock around forming a government continues.
Mr Flanagan upped the ante on Fianna Fáil during his St Patrick’s Day State visit to the US and accused the party of acting like they “won the election”.
The comments follow Taoiseach Enda Kenny challenging Fianna Fail leader Micheál Martin to begin talks on forming a government after the General Election resulted in a hung Dáil.
Mr Flanagan said the Taoiseach has the “solemn responsibility and duty as leader of the largest party” to engage fully in the talks process.
'Fianna Fáil are currently engaged in game playing and their swashbuckling approach suggests that they have won the election which clearly they have not,” he added.
“I respect the will of the people through the ballot box. The fact remains Fine Gael with 50 seats is the largest party and every effort will be made on behalf of Enda Kenny and Fine Gael to form a stable government.
“I believe any prolonged period of uncertainty will give rise to instability and put at risk much of the hard won economic successes of recent years and it is important that all parties engage in a process and a government be elected.”
Mr Flanagan also defended Mr Kenny’s comments at an event in Washington hosted by the Irish Embassy last night
Mr Kenny joked that his day in Washington had "gone very well" before adding: "Bejaysus, I wish I didn't have to go back and face what I have to face but c'est la vie".
Speaking at an economic lunch in Washington, Mr Flanagan said: "I was present when the Taoiseach made a lighthearted comment and I'm disappointed that his comment has been misinterpreted (and) misunderstood."
He also said the prospect of Britain leaving the European Union posed risks for Ireland and insisted the Government was working to ensure Prime Minister David Cameron reached a settlement with the EU which would prevent a Brexit.
“Ultimately, the decision on the UK’s future relationship with the EU lies with the British people and we must all fully respect that fact,” he said.
“However I want to emphasise that whatever decision is taken by our neighbour, Ireland’s commitment to the EU and to membership of the Eurozone remains undimmed,” he added.