Wednesday, 19 December 2018
Post-European Council: Statements
As I have said several times in statements before and after European Council meetings, one quarter or one third of the Fianna Fáil leader's contribution is always about attacking Sinn Féin. He does not attack any other Opposition party. He does so because of the electoral threat Sinn Féin poses.
Deputy Martin should be under no illusions. Sinn Féin is not above criticism and welcomes constructive advice from all quarters in this House, especially and including those who do not contest elections in the North. We still accept advice from those parties. The leader of Fianna Fáil and the Taoiseach need to understand, and I think the Taoiseach has a better read of it than the leader of Fianna Fáil, that none of this plays out well in the North. Everybody knows we do not have an Executive and Assembly. We had a deal earlier this year to which all parties bar one signed up. It is not possible to have a power-sharing administration if one of the main parties to form that government will not sign up to it and walks away from the deal. That is not something the leader of Fianna Fáil wants to accept. He wants to use this issue to score political points. As I said, however, it has no impact whatsoever on Sinn Féin's vote, North or South, and only serves to alienate the leader of Fianna Fáil from nationalist people in the North. In fact, I think it is a source of irritation to the leader of Fianna Fáil that a Fine Gael Taoiseach is seen as more popular among nationalist opinion in the North than the leader of Fianna Fáil. This is a very peculiar position for a leader of Fianna Fáil to find himself in.