Martin criticises approach to peace process

Sunday 27 April 2014 21.55
Micheál Martin was speaking at an Easter Rising commemoration at Arbour Hill in Dublin
Micheál Martin was speaking at an Easter Rising commemoration at Arbour Hill in Dublin

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has criticised the Irish and British governments for taking what he said was a "hands-off" approach to addressing the remaining issues in the peace process in Northern Ireland

Mr Martin said they have allowed a growing dysfunction in the Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive.

He said the Irish Government is particularly culpable in accepting the idea that Dublin is not an interested party in discussions about the past.

Mr Martin said it was long past time for the governments to stop talking about how great relations are between them and instead to achieve real progress.

He made his remarks at the party's annual Easter Rising commemoration at Arbour Hill in Dublin.

He also criticised Sinn Féin, saying the party had zero claim to be the party of 1916.

Mr Martin said there is no greater insult to the men and women of 1916 than to compare them to the provisional movement of recent times.

He also accused the current Government of taking a highly partisan approach to Ireland's past, saying nothing should be allowed to distract from the 1916 commemorations.

Asked about reports today that his party colleague John McGuinness turned down the offer of running in the European Elections citing ambitions for the party leadership, Mr Martin said many people in the party have ambitions.

Mr Martin said he did not want to comment too much on the Sunday Independent article, but said it was "interesting".

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said he does not accept the criticism from the Fianna Fáil leader that the UK and Irish governments are not doing enough to resolve the outstanding issues in Northern Ireland.

Mr Kenny said he had recently met British Prime Minister David Cameron at Downing Street and pointed to a recent €150m investment in Northern Ireland.

He made his comments in Arklow at the launch of Simon Harris' campaign for the European Parliament.