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Absentee FF in no position to criticise Brexit strategy – Richmond

-   Senator Neale Richmond

Fine Gael Senator and spokesman on European Affairs, Neale Richmond, has slammed Fianna Fáil Brexit spokesperson, Lisa Chambers, following her latest attempt to tie internal UK chaos to the Irish Government.

“Since the fateful day in 2016 when the UK voted to leave the EU, this Government has pursued a prudent strategy both on a domestic and European level, guaranteeing that Irish issues are at the fore of the negotiations, maintaining absolute EU solidarity and making the domestic preparations for all Brexit eventualities.

“Ms Chambers had the gall to go on national radio today and criticise the Government’s Brexit preparedness strategy, when she herself failed to attend the very Brexit stakeholders forum last week where the details of preparednesswere discussed and reviewed at length in advance of further discussions at Cabinet this week.

“A range of key state agencies and representative bodies covered in detail the work that has been carried out to prepare for Brexit, while the Tánaiste distributed an outline briefing document of the work that has been done. Much of the work is quite obvious while some of the scenario planning is obviously sensitive and putting it into the public domain risks contagion,” Senator Richmond said.

“Such attention to detail is in scant contrast to the approach of Fianna Fáil. Rather than attend the very important Brexit stakeholders forum, Ms Chambers thought best to attend a meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Berlin. While the OSCE is of course an important body, one would assume that Fianna Fail’s Brexit spokesperson would have been much better placed attending the Brexit stakeholders forum, especially as a substitute could have easily attended the OSCE in her place. I myself have acted as a substitute to the OSCE in the past.

“However, we should not be surprised that Fianna Fáil are all talk and no action given that out of ten Brexit stakeholders forums held so far, the Fianna Fáil representative has only attended five of them.

“We all know that Brexit is going to be bad, the Government and our partners are working assiduously to limit the damage on Ireland and absentee Fianna Fáil are in no position to criticise this strategy. Rather than taking ill-informed pot shots from afar, Fianna Fáil would be much better placed working with their ALDE partners across Europe to press the case for Ireland.”

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