Saturday 17 March 2018

Martin insists anti-treaty TD O Cuiv will not be punished

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin with Eamon O Cuiv. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin with Eamon O Cuiv. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin yesterday insisted he won't be taking action against Eamon O Cuiv over his call for a No vote in the EU fiscal treaty referendum.

Mr O Cuiv continues to attack the treaty, despite pledging not to canvass for a No vote.

However, Mr Martin said the Charlie Haughey era of 'Uno Duce, Una Voce' in his party is gone.

He added that every family in Ireland had different views on the merits of the treaty.

"I don't need to assert my authority in the Fianna Fail party. I have already done that.

"Eamon O Cuiv, because of his views, has lost the deputy leadership of the party and has lost his place on the frontbench," he said.

"My authority will now rest on the force of argument, power of argument."

And Mr Martin referred to a phrase associated with Mr Haughey clamping down on dissent towards his leadership.

"We're not back 15 or 20 years where it's kind of 'una voce, uno duce'. That day is over," he said.

Mr Martin warned the fiscal treaty referendum would be lost if the Yes side did not put forward a positive argument.

Fianna Fail is spending up to €150,000 on its campaign for a Yes vote.

In his latest comments on the referendum, Mr O Cuiv described the treaty as a "straitjacket that would lead to misery in our country and throughout the EU".

"This is not the way to solve our problems. It is against the whole spirit of the EU," he said in an interview with the 'Galway Advertiser'.

Once again, Mr O Cuiv claimed a majority of Fianna Fail members were behind him. "The opinion poll at the weekend showed that support for the treaty is 50/50 among Fianna Fail voters," he said.

"I would be in the minority within the parliamentary party, but on the ground I think you'd have a majority of members agreeing with my view."


Meanwhile, the United Left Alliance (ULA) defended bringing water charges and household taxes into the debate on the referendum.

ULA TD Joe Higgins said the country was being threatened with isolation "that nobody in Europe, far from extending solidarity, they'll want to kick us out into the mid-Atlantic if we don't pass their austerity treaty".

His colleague Richard Boyd Barrett said the Tanaiste tried to rubbish the ULA for opposing the treaty "bandying around terms like lunatic economics".

"Just to throw it back at the Tanaiste, I think the Tanaiste is guilty of George Orwell double-speak economics where words mean the exact opposite of the thing," he said.

Irish Independent

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