Sunday 18 February 2018

'Sinn Féin is trying to exploit Brexit' - FF

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin Photo: Tony Gavin
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin Photo: Tony Gavin
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Sinn Féin is trying to exploit Brexit and alienate unionists for its own electoral advantage, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has said.

The Opposition leader has hit out at Gerry Adams for proposing a new Oireachtas committee that would begin planning for a united Ireland.

Mr Adams recently wrote to all party leaders in Leinster House seeking support for the proposal but was shot down by Fianna Fáil.

He yesterday called on Mr Martin to "get serious" about Irish unity.

However, Mr Martin told the Irish Independent the establishment of the committee proposed by Sinn Féin would "send all the wrong signals to unionists".

"I think if unionists see all of the parties in the Republic coming together, minus them, it creates a certain impression. They would feel under threat immediately."

Fianna Fáil is compiling its own proposals for how a united Ireland might operate. It is expected to be ready for publication later this year.

Mr Martin said the full potential of the Good Friday Agreement has not yet been delivered and Sinn Féin should be focusing on this.

"My own sense is that Sinn Féin is exploiting the Brexit situation to try to create a new platform for its own electoral advantage. It is doing damage to the prospect of unity by consent," he said.

Mr Martin added the full focus of political parties should be on restoring devolved government in Northern Ireland.

Mr Adams said the committee would provide a forum where party interests could be left at the door.

"The recent experience of the chaos in Britain, caused by the vote to leave the EU, shows that possibilities of large scale change need to be planned for in advance.

"Crucially, part of the work of the committee would be to put in place a vision for the future of the island that assures unionists of their place in a new Ireland.

"This has to be an agreed Ireland. It will not happen by accident," he said.

Irish Independent

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