Belfast Telegraph

Impasse at Stormont is scandalous, says Fianna Fail leader

Criticism: Micheal Martin
Criticism: Micheal Martin

By Michelle Devane

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin has said it is "scandalous" that power-sharing in Northern Ireland is not up and running as Brexit looms.

The Cork South Central TD described it as a "shocking indictment" of Sinn Fein and the DUP.

Political talks to restore devolved government at Stormont resumed in recent months but the DUP and Sinn Fein have clashed over the lack of progress that has been made.

"It is a scandal that the Assembly is not up and running and the Executive is not up and running, and in the context of Brexit - which is the greatest threat to Northern Ireland in terms of society and economy there for a long, long time - that there is no government in place as per the Good Friday Agreement and there is no parliament in place," Mr Martin said.

"I think that is a shocking indictment of both Sinn Fein and the DUP."

He blamed Sinn Fein for "deliberately" pulling down the institutions over the Renewable Heat Incentive scandal and he said the DUP should have "facilitated" its restoration as the UK prepares to leave the EU.

"Sinn Fein pulled it down in the first place, deliberately, in my view, contrived it at the time over the heating scandal which has now gone into the background," he said.

"The DUP should have facilitated its restoration.

"Brexit demands and creates the imperative for the restoration of the Executive and Assembly without preconditions, in my view."

He added that he did not like the "casual way" the Good Friday Agreement and its institutions had been "cast aside", and he could not understand why they had not yet been restored.

"If the Assembly and the Executive were together we probably would have had a better dialogue and a better conversation around Brexit between unionism and nationalism than we have had, and I think the absence of the joint North South Ministerial Council has been a huge gap," he said.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph