Belfast Telegraph

Fianna Fail will be rewarded for its stabilising force, says Martin

Fianna Fail is seeking to end its confidence and supply agreement with Fine Gael after almost five years.

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin (Brian Lawless/PA)
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin (Brian Lawless/PA)

By Aoife Moore, PA

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin says his party will be rewarded for its stabilising force during Brexit at the next election.

Mr Martin, speaking at his party’s President’s Dinner on Saturday, threw down the gauntlet to party members in a speech criticising the Government as the country looks to the next election, expected early next year.

The 2020 budget last week was the last that Fianna Fail said they would agree to, as they seek to end their confidence and supply agreement with Fine Gael after almost five years.

“When you look across to London and the collapse of their politics I think no one can doubt that Fianna Fail was right in saying that we could not risk this happening in Ireland,” Mr Martin said during a speech in the Clayton Hotel, Dublin.

“In spite of many, many reasons to force an election, we said that Ireland couldn’t afford to be left without a voice in Brexit and had to show to Europe and the world that the Brexit madness would not be let into our politics.

We have put the national interest first at a critical moment. This has been no time for politics as usual and we have responded appropriately Micheal Martin

“We have put the national interest first at a critical moment.

“This has been no time for politics as usual and we have responded appropriately.”

There have been a number of reports that Fianna Fail TDs and supporters had been unhappy with the continued backing of the Government during a number of notable scandals, including CervicalCheck and the housing emergency.

Mr Martin thanked supporters for staying the course, acknowledging the disharmony among some members.

“I know that this has been tough for many of our members because they are straining to take our message of change to the doorsteps,” he added.

Mr Martin added that there will be an election next year “unless the Taoiseach decides to try to pull a stroke of some sort because he thinks it will benefit him”.

Mr Martin has often criticised his rival for “political spin”, and Saturday’s speech saw Leo Varadkar come under fire for his government’s “failures” in office, which Mr Martin said was reflected in the polls in May when Fianna Fail was the largest party in local government.

“Let’s not forget that this was done against the background of a relentless campaign of using public money to promote government,” he said.

“One of the largest and most cynical government marketing campaigns ever undertaken.

“The public didn’t fall for it, and instead chose to support our message of candidates focused on delivering community development and responsive public services.”

Mr Martin said his party’s approach to the next election will be to offer a positive alternative.

“Our country needs a change of government and we are determined to make sure that it gets a change of government,” he said.

PA

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