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The Floating Voter: EU nationalism has turned Ireland into ‘bureaucratic losers’ on vaccines - Marc MacSharry

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Fianna Fáil TD Marc MacSharry. Photo: Tom Burke

Fianna Fáil TD Marc MacSharry. Photo: Tom Burke

Fianna Fáil TD Marc MacSharry. Photo: Tom Burke

European nationalism has turned Ireland into “bureaucratic losers” in the race to vaccinate citizens, a Fianna Fáil TD has said.

Outspoken Sligo-Leitrim deputy Marc MacSharry said the EU “made a balls” of procuring vaccines and insisted Ireland should explore other ways to increase supply

Speaking on the Floating voter podcast, Mr MacSharry also severely criticised the Government’s reliance on the EU for vaccines and called on the Taoiseach to ask Prime Minister Boris Johnson for any extra supplies the UK has left over.

He said the Government should extend the date between first and second vaccines so more people can be vaccinated now.

“There is an element of EU and nationalist pride in preventing us from reaching out because we need to be the goodie two shoes Europeans,” he said.

“The only good deal on vaccinations is a fast deal and Europe went off thinking they were procuring office supplies, played hard ball with prices and those global negotiating geniuses in Bahrain got up the queue, so did israel, so did a number of other countries while we were being good, cautious, bureaucratic, responsible losers.”

The long-time Fianna Fáil dissident also said he expects Micheál Martin to step down as party leader before the next election and said he will be supporting Jim O’Callaghan in a leadership contest.

“I think 12 years of a leader is enough, it needs to be refreshed and that's it. It's not personal, it's business. It's good business to change it,” he said.

He said there are “five or six people who are prepared to step forward” and replace Micheál Martin naming Dara Calleary, Darragh O'Brien, Jim O'Callaghan, Michael McGrath and Norma Foley.

However, he said he will be supporting Mr O’Callaghan because he is not “blinded by ambition” and is in politics to makes changes rather than personal gain. “Is the Micheál Martin who brought in the smoking ban the Micheál Martin who is Taoiseach - I'm not so sure,” he added.

Mr MacSharry there is no personal animosity between himself and Mr Martin but said they do "have issues about how things are managed" in the party. "I'm not entirely risk adverse but I think the Taoiseach probably is," he said. "He's much more cautious than is necessary in my view but it is certainly not personal."

He criticised what he called a “highly centralised environment where the top decide and formulate” policy and said he believes this is “Micheál Martin's failure”.

“If a backbencher or a senator comes up with a cure for cancer it is not going to get into the minutes unless it comes from a Tony Holohan or KPMG or Deloittes and that's a problem,” he added.

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