Micheál Martin: Sinn Féin 'using 1916 commemoration to advance itself politically'

Micheál Martin: Sinn Féin 'using 1916 commemoration to advance itself politically'

Micheál Martin is again accusing Sinn Féin of attempting to use the 1916 commemoration to pursue its own political agenda.

The Fianna Fáil leader is using a speech at his party's annual Wolfe Tone Commemoration this morning to criticise the party and coalition partners.

He said the rising numbers of children and families in need of accommodation shows the Government is failing to uphold the republican ideals Ireland was founded on.

Deputy Martin has said Sinn Féin has forgotten what republicanism means.

“Wolfe Tone was a 19th Century protestant at the centre, that is the re-essence of republicanism,” Mr Martin said.

“And Sinn Féin carves out its own base and attempts to use the commemoration of 1916 as an opportunity to advance itself politically as opposed to an genuine all inclusive commemoration.”

Update 3.02pm

In response to Deputy Martin's comments, Gerry Adams has released a statement saying "As is now an annual occurrence, Mícheál Martin has again used Fianna Fáil's Bodenstown event to attack Sinn Féin.

"The Fianna Fáil Leader clearly prefers to talk about Sinn Féin rather than his own party, even at Fianna Fáil events.

"That speaks volumes about Fianna Fáil's current state of political bankruptcy, not least on the issue of Water Charges."

The statement went on to compare Mícheál Martin to Margaret Thatcher. "In his latest outburst, Mícheal Martin seeks to follow the example of Margaret Thatcher in trying to criminalise the republican struggle.

"However, like Thatcher, Mícheál Martin will fail. Most citizens see through his cynical opportunism in relation to the Peace Process which is all to do with fear about the electoral advance of Sinn Féin in the South.

"Unlike Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin has a mandate in both parts of this island and in the North we have been central to the ongoing and positive transformation of society there.

"In contrast, Mr Martin has repeatedly sought to denigrate the political institutions in the North and to promote the exclusion of Sinn Féin.

"Most recently - in a monumentally stupid and irresponsible intervention - he called for the political institutions to be pulled down.

"Mícheál Martin needs to clarify whether Fianna Fáil still supports the full implementation of the Good Friday and subsequent Agreements.

"Despite what Mr Martin has repeatedly stated, Sinn Féin has never tried to claim ownership of 1916.

"Instead we have sought to popularise the centenary and place the message of the 1916 Proclamation at the centre of commemorative events.


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