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Buttimer says Fianna Fáil call for referendum on EU treaty is 'two-faced'

The Fine Gael TD has harshly criticised the opposition party for its call on the government to hold a referendum on the EU fiscal compact.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has been criticised by Buttimer.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has been criticised by Buttimer.
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

A FINE GAEL TD has sharply criticised Fianna Fáil for its “two-facedness” saying the party’s call for a referendum on the EU fiscal compact “beggars belief”.

Jerry Buttimer has slammed the opposition party’s call for a referendum on the deal which promotes greater fiscal discipline among EU nations, before the Attorney General (AG) has had an opportunity to consider whether or not one was needed.

He said that while he “wouldn’t be afraid of a referendum” it was important to wait for the advice of the AG.

Buttimer said that Fianna Fáil’s stance was an example of the ‘Punch and Judy” politics which the party’s leader had said he would not engage in.

“If you look at their approach to Europe when in government and look at what they’ve done now, it beggars belief,” he told TheJournal.ie. “Micheál Martin, on his first day in the new Dáil, said he was going to end ‘Punch and Judy’ politics. He’s now engaging in ‘Punch and Judy’ politics.”

The Cork South Central TD said that there was “a level of two-facedness” from Fianna Fáil in its stance on the referendum issue.

“The Taoiseach has said if we have to have a referendum, we will have it. It’s important to wait for the AG’s advice. In the interim what we have to have is a strong debate across as many fora as you can on what this fiscal compact is about.”

He said that the attitude of the opposition parties to the referendum issue was a “sideshow” and insisted that it was important to wait on the advice of the Attorney General, Marie Whelan.

“I fully understand that there are people who believer that a referendum is necessary,” he said.

He added: “If we need to have one, let’s have it. Let’s have a debate on issue before us, not on sideshows. It’s about the importance of Europe. It’s about the future of Europe, more importantly it’s about the future of our country.”

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Hugh O'Connell

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