Leo Varadkar responds to Micheál Martin's 'childish' label

Leo Varadkar responds to Micheál Martin's 'childish' label

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has hit back at Micheal Martin's claims he is being "childish" and is deliberately "goading" Britain over Brexit by accusing his rival of doing nothing other than "finger wagging" on the issue.

In a number of interviews after the Fianna Fáil ard fhéis at the weekend, Mr Martin criticised Mr Varadkar for his headline-grabbing attitude to Brexit.

Noting his high-profile comments on the diplomatic stand-off, Mr Martin said Mr Varadkar was being "childish" and "immature" and that his remarks are having the effect of "goading" hard-line Brexiteers who Ireland need to calm down.

Leo Varadkar responds to Micheál Martin's 'childish' label

"[With] the commentary on the British parliament. I don’t get what he was [doing], sort of saying that America will back us over Britain. That kind of language to me is unnecessary and inappropriate right now.

"The Taoiseach, instead of talking about us and talking about goading the British parliament, he should focus on the job at hand in terms of health, housing, broadband, digital safety regulator - that’s what he should be talking about. Not this kind of childish stuff," Mr Martin said in one Daily Mail interview.

Reacting to the comments in a sideline interview at the first ever EU-Arab League summit in Sharm el-Sheikh this morning, Mr Varadkar rejected the Fianna Fáil leader's claims.

Asked specifically about Mr Martin's concerns he is "goading" Britain and being "childish", Mr Varadkar said:

That’s politics and that’s Michéal Martin. He’s always either wagging the finger or sniping from the sidelines.

"But what I haven’t seen from Fianna Fáil from their ard fhéis or from anything in the past couple of months is any coherent policies or any real alternative to what the Government has done.

"Lots of finger wagging, and no substance of policy, no alternative," he said.

Asked if it is reasonable to warn headline-grabbing comments will not go down well in Britain, Mr Varadkar added:

"I think it’s reasonable to point out to the UK that Westminster is not the only parliament that has a role in this.

"There has been enormous focus on what is required to get this deal through Westminster. I think they do need to be reminded that the European parliament, a parliament representing nearly 500 million citizens also has to ratify this agreement.

"And I think too often in the United Kingdom this whole issue of Brexit is being treated as an internal negotiation among themselves. You know, a Chequers deal among the British cabinet, compromises and deals within the British political system.

"But for any agreement to work it has to be supported by the UK and the European Union. The European parliament’s role in this is at least equal to that of Westminster. That needs to be understood in Westminster.

"It’s not good enough for Westminster to come up with something that they can agree to, that they can get a majority for.

"That also has to command a majority in the European parliament. And the European parliament will not ratify a withdrawal agreement that doesn’t do right by Ireland."


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