Belfast Telegraph

Coveney hits out at Fianna Fail's sniping over failure of talks

By Michelle Devane

The two largest political parties in Ireland should be working together and not criticising each other to bring about devolved government in Northern Ireland, the Tanaiste has said.

Simon Coveney said Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin's criticism of the Irish and UK Governments was not helpful and demonstrated a lack of understanding about the Stormont talks, which collapsed on Wednesday.

"We have a tradition in this House particularly between Fianna Fail and Fine Gael of supporting each other and helping each other regardless of who is in government, in the context of protecting the fundamentals of the Good Friday Agreement and in terms of looking after the responsibilities we have towards people north of the border," Mr Coveney said.

"If Micheal Martin has an issue in terms of how we are taking on and performing those responsibilities he should talk to us about it as opposed to tweeting out within the hour of hearing the DUP statement yesterday trying to criticise two Governments who are working in partnership to try to bring about devolved government again in Northern Ireland."

In a Twitter post Mr Martin said the continued failure of the two dominant political parties in Northern Ireland to agree a deal was "bitterly disappointing".

Sinn Fein's Pearse Doherty urged Fianna Fail to reflect on the party's position.

"Micheal Martin has trotted out the same tired two 'problem party' line while also blaming both Governments," Mr Doherty said.

He added Mr Martin was pointing the finger of blame on everyone involved in the talks without lifting a finger himself.

"It's a disgraceful attitude and one that is completely at odds with the facts," Mr Doherty said.

The Donegal TD said he wanted to acknowledge the Tanaiste's efforts.

"You have been involved, you have been engaged, and it's important for us to say that," he said. "So have your officials and we're very grateful for that."

Belfast Telegraph

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