Fianna Fáil long on rhetoric, short on action when it comes to all-Ireland approach
Sinn Féin TD Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has responded to remarks by Micheál Martin at the Merriman Summer School, saying that when it comes to the issue of deepening and developing an all-Ireland approach to politics, Fianna Fáil is long on rhetoric and short on action.
Deputy Mac Lochlainn said:
"The Peace Process remains a work in progress and needs the constant attention and support of the Irish and British Governments. Sinn Féin has raised this issue directly with the Taoiseach on a number of occasions and in the Dáil.
"If Micheál Martin's comments at the Merriman Summer School represent a conversion by Fianna Fáil to the importance of all-Ireland politics, it is of course to be welcomed.
"However, the real test of any party's commitment is their record in government. In this regard Fianna Fáil did little to expand on the all-Ireland institutions or to provide for Northern representation in the Oireachtas.
"When it comes to the issue of deepening and developing an all-Ireland approach to politics, Fianna Fáil is long on rhetoric and short on action.
"In fact, Micheál Martin in particular has consistently viewed the North as a mere political football in his electoral battle with Sinn Féin in this State, doing a grave disservice to all-Ireland objectives.
"Sinn Féin, which commands the electoral support of the vast majority of nationalists in the North, has consistently demonstrated real political leadership in seeking to build a shared future between unionists and nationalist Ireland.
"Last year's handshake between Martin McGuinness and the British monarch was symbolic of Sinn Féin's commitment to demonstrate to unionists that republicans accept and respect their identity and that the new Ireland we seek to build is inclusive of all traditions on this island.
"Meanwhile republicans in the North are working day and daily at interface areas to reduce tensions around contentious issues and to build a shared understanding with unionist communities.
"If Micheál Martin is genuine about these issues he needs to support Sinn Féin in our efforts, for instance, to have fiscal powers devolved to the North's Assembly, to ensure northern representation in the Dáil, that Irish citizens in the North be given the right to vote in Presidential elections and for a poll on Irish unity."