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'Pathetic': Fine Gael are getting up early in the morning for a Brexit photo-op and Micheál's not impressed

Martin also hit out against Fine Gael’s Phil Hogan, who is now the EU’s chief trade negotiator.

Martin said Fine Gael love the photo ops.
Martin said Fine Gael love the photo ops.
Image: Sam Boal

MICHEÁL MARTIN HAS called out Fine Gael as “pathetic” for getting up early in the morning to get their photographs taken at Dublin Port tomorrow. 

Tánaiste, Simon Coveney, the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe and Minister for EU Affairs, Helen McEntee are due to go to Dublin Port at 5am tomorrow to get a tour of the purpose-built Brexit facilities and to see the first ships of the day dock and unload.

The media and photographers have also been invited along. 

Speaking about the press event, Martin said Fine Gael are politicising Brexit, calling it “desperate stuff”. 

“Fine Gael were a great party for photo ops for the past four years. I mean they are always about spin… Leo himself created the unit that was going to cost €5 million to promote themselves and here now, the last great photo-op, they are getting up at 5am in the morning to go to a port to be photographed – that is just pathetic stuff,” he said. 

Big Phil

Martin also hit out against the Fine Gael’s Phil Hogan, who is now the EU’s chief trade negotiator. 

In an interview with RTÉ News yesterday, Hogan warned against complacency and urged people in Ireland to “come out of their slumber” and wake up to that reality of Brexit.

“I’m very concerned at what I see in Ireland the moment. There’s a lot of complacency in the system. Commentators and the media and the public generally don’t seem to realise we’re starting the most difficult part of the negotiations,” he said. 

When asked about Hogan’s intervention, Martin said: 

“I think Phil Hogan should stay out of domestic Irish politics for the next week.

“That to me was a coded partisan intervention.”

Hogan told RTÉ’s Sean O’Rourke today that he has “never interfered in domestic politics since becoming EU Commissioner”.

He said comments he made this week were made in the context of it being the eve of Brexit. When questioned by Sean O’Rourke, he said he was sure it is the case that an alternative government could do just as well as the previous Fine Gael government with regard to Brexit, adding: “I’m sure that that is the case and I never said otherwise.”

fine-gael-ard-fheis Source: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

“I know people are sensitive at election time but I’m not sensitive about telling the truth about the position and alerting people out of their complacency,” he said.
In recent days, Coveney has come out with a strong warning that Brexit is not done.

While he said yesterday that is not trying to scare people during an election campaign, he said also said Varadkar is the best man for the job in dealing with the next phase of Brexit. He has also questioned Martin’s experience in dealing with such matters.

Martin said today that Fine Gael’s Brexit message has changed since December.

“I remember before Christmas this was a great [Brexit] deal and now in the last 48 hours there is a freight train coming down the tracks. Big Phil is telling the Irish people they are in a slumber and so there is a new story and a new narrative being created that things are desperate altogether. People are going to see through that as an election creation to frighten people into voting in certain direction and I don’t think it will work,” he said. 

Speaking at an Irish Institute of International and European Affairs earlier today, Martin added:

There have been unfortunate attempts in recent weeks to politicise Brexit – to say that Ireland can’t have a new government because only current office holders have the skills and knowledge to handle Brexit.
It ignores the reality that we had a functioning government and parliament during the threat of a crash-out Brexit solely because Fianna Fáil acted.

iiea Michael Martin 46 Leader of Fianna Fail Michael Martin speaking at the Irish Institute of International and European Affairs, Source: Sam Boal

He said the idea that Ireland cannot change government because of Brexit is “cynical and desperate in equal measure”. 

During his speech, he also addressed the issue of a united Ireland, stating: 

Martin said a referendum on a united Ireland will happen “when the time is right and when sectarian issues have been reduced, and when we are able to do more than just offer a swapping of roles, and when we don’t just talk about reconciliation but actually practice it.”

Say no Sinn Féin

While Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael focused on Brexit this morning, People Before Profit were in the Grand Canal area urging Sinn Féin not to go into coalition with Martin or Varadkar after the election. 

151 People Before Profit Source: RollingNews.ie

Bríd Smith said that while of course, they would like voters to vote number one for their candidates, they could see the surge in support for Sinn Féin. 

Smith said Sinn Féin needs to “categorically rule out” going into government with either big party, and voters need to know their position before election day.  

She said history shows that any left party that goes into government with the “larger right-wing parties” are “ate up and spat out by the conservative blocs” due to their agenda “to maintain the status quo”. 

“It is not about whether Mary Lou” is strong enough to resist Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil’s agenda-setting, if Sinn Féin goes into government, said Smith, acknowledging that McDonald is a “formidable” leader.

She will be a junior partner in government, with a conservative party, said Smith, adding that the larger party in government will “gobble up and spit out the politics of the left parties”. 

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