Fianna Fáil TD criticised after blaming Taoiseach for 'failing to engage' with Boris Johnson

Fianna Fáil TD criticised after blaming Taoiseach for 'failing to engage' with Boris Johnson

Fianna Fáil TD Timmy Dooley has come under fire after blaming the Taoiseach for "failing to engage" with Boris Johnson after his appointment as British Prime Minister.

His comments came hours before the Taoiseach and Mr Johnson finally spoke on the phone this afternoon, six days after the new British PM was selected.

Mr Dooley was responding on Twitter to a news article which said that Mr Johnson had "snubbed" Leo Varadkar by failing to contact him in recent days.

"The stand off with our nearest neighbour is as a direct result of Taoiseach Varadkar's failure to engage in basic diplomacy over the past 2 years," he wrote.

"The Government's lack of experience and arrogance will hurt Ireland in the coming months."

Fianna Fáil Micheál Martin later clarified his party's position following the controversial remarks saying "the refusal by PM Boris Johnson to engage with European leaders and our Taoiseach without pre conditions on the issue of Brexit is unacceptable and is not within the realms of normal diplomatic or political behaviour".

The Clare TD and Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Communications, The Environment and Natural Resources received criticism from both sides of the political divide following his comments this morning.

Health Minister Simon Harris and Fine Gael Senators Catherine Noone and Neale Richmond all branded his sentiments as "petty".

"An acknowledgement from Fianna Fáil that using language of hard line brexiters and blaming our Taoiseach at a time where we need unity of purpose is not a good idea? Stop petty party politics," he said.

"We are better than that across parties. Our strength is our unity at home & across EU."

Senator Noone also said it was "no time for this kind of petty party politics". "This statement is inaccurate and unhelpful," she said.

Senator Richmond went further and said it was "unfortunate but not surprising to see Fianna Fáil rolling out the petty and personalised jobes".

Replying to Mr Dooley he said: "So your solution? Rip open the Withdrawal Agreement, bin the backstop, engage in bilateral negotiations, turn our back on EU solidarity, plan for a hard border, abandon the protections of the GFA? Good to see you join the Daily Express school of thought!"

Labour also berated Fianna Fáil, with party leader Brendan Howlin saying it was "not the time for playing politics".

"The risk of a hard Brexit has never been higher. Our focus should be on preparing for the potential economic shock," he said.

The party's health spokesman Alan Kelly said Fianna Fáil had gone "full circle putting the party before the country once again".

Yesterday Boris Johnson's failure to contact the Taoiseach was branded "discourteous and offensive" by Sinn Fein.

Following on from this, the party's own Communications spokesperson David Cullinane condemned Mr Dooley's phrasing as a "strange move and bad politics".

"Fianna Fáil and Timmy Dooley are full of inconsistencies when it comes to Brexit. Giving succour to Boris Johnson and siding with the hard right and staunch Brexiteers in British politics is hardly defending Irish interests," he said.

Tensions between the Irish and UK governments over the Brexit stand-off have risen in recent days amid comments by Mr Johnson that the backstop arrangement "is dead".

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