Belfast Telegraph

O Cuiv quits post over EU treaty

Eamon O Cuiv has resigned as deputy leader of Ireland's chief Opposition party Fianna Fail over the controversial European fiscal treaty.

The grandson of party founder and Ireland's first Taoiseach Eamon De Valera stood down after clashing with leader Micheal Martin over the upcoming referendum on the EU deal.

Launching a scathing attack on Europe's treatment of Ireland, the Galway West TD warned the interests of the country was more important than party loyalty.

Speculation had been mounting about a split after he refused to tow the party line and support Mr Martin's public declaration that it would campaign for a Yes vote in the upcoming referendum.

Moments after his resignation was announced, Mr O Cuiv said a political party should not come before a country.

He said: "Fianna Fail in itself is not the important thing. Fianna Fail is the vehicle to promote the interests of the people of Ireland."

Mr O Cuiv also unleashed an attack on German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Nicolas Sarkozy.

"In the last year in particular it seems that Europe is being run by Merkel and Sarkozy," he said.

"I think it is time that the small countries stood up for themselves and I think this is one small country that should certainly stand up for itself and not be saddled with an unfair burden."

Mr O Cuiv resigned as deputy leader and front bench communications, energy and natural resources spokesman. He will remain on as a backbencher.

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