Martin hits out at Fine Gael ministers' 'juvenile' election comments

Martin hits out at Fine Gael ministers' 'juvenile' election comments

Fianna Fail leader Micheál Martin hit out at “juvenile” comments from Fine Gael ministers who he accused of angling for an early General Election.

Speaking at his party's Presidential Dinner in Dublin, Mr Martin was speaking to the media in the wake of a string of criticism from Cabinet members at the Fine Gael Ard Fheis.

“I can't explain the sort of juvenile behaviour by some ministers today. They need to stand back and acknowledge the stability and the consensus across the Dail on the Brexit issue,” he said.

Mr Martin was pressed about the slow pace of Confidence and Supply talks, which are heading into their fourth week, but he was adamant that the review of the past three budgets is fully warranted.

“In terms of Confidence and Supply, it is written down in black and white that there would be a review. We don't agree with the Taoiseach that everything is going swimmingly. We don't agree that things are moving on housing, on health. We don't agree on the broadband question. It has been an abject failure,” Mr Martin told reporters.

“These are issues we need to interrogate, these are serious issues which merit substantive review. We have never bought into the idea of 'sign on the dotted line, everything is going fine,” he said.

“It was very clear that the first item on the agenda at the Cabinet on Wednesday was how do we pull off an electoral stroke and force a General Election. That is what Government Ministers were at last Wednesday. It tells its own story about who wants an election and who is causing instability,” he said.

In his speech to guests, Mr Martin said: “And for all of the posturing we’ve heard from Citywest - Fine Gael ministers and their leader need to remember that they don’t get to spend a year trying to destabilise their own government and then start delivering lectures about stability.

In entering this review we’ve ignored the spinning and attempts to introduce preconditions. We have insisted on a substantive review of the current state of priority issues and plans for the future.

Mr Martin said serious political issues are being played out in Westminster and the deal agreed between the EU and the British Government is in doubt of being accepted by MPs in the House of Commons.

“There are really serious issues within the British system. Theresa May is going to find it hard to get the deal through parliament. I wouldn't write that off,” he said. Mr Martin said the concept of a second referendum has gathered momentum in the UK and it cannot be discounted given the events of the past week.

“She probably does not have the numbers to get the deal over the line but I think we need to take it one step at a time and be cautious,” he added. Mr Martin said under the deal Northern Ireland can still get the best of both worlds.

“At a time when dark forces are seeking to push Europe backwards we will campaign for an Ireland which supports a more active and effective European Union,” he said.

Mr Martin attacked the Government's record on housing saying it is getting worse not better.

“Twelve months ago at his last party conference the Taoiseach announced 'the plan is working'. He even claimed that the homelessness figures had turned a corner and were getting better.

"Yet today there are 800 more children homeless than there were on the day the Taoiseach took up office. Despite the ongoing efforts to massage the figures, there are almost 10,000 people homeless today,” he said.

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