Fine Gael Senator and Spokesperson on European Affairs, Neale Richmond, has today (Tuesday) criticised Fianna Fáil TD Timmy Dooley for trying to undermine Ireland’s united front on Brexit.
“Timmy Dooley is using his social media this morning to try and create a row on Brexit for a bit of attention for himself.
“Up to now, Fianna Fáil has supported the Irish Government’s strong and consistent approach to the Brexit negotiations. In fact all Irish political parties have donned the green jersey in a united approach in the interests of the country.
“Now however Timmy Dooley is trying to stoke a row on Brexit with personalised petty jibes at the Taoiseach.
“The mask has slipped again and any illusion of a new, responsible Fianna Fáil has disappeared. We are seeing the tribal ‘party before country’ mentality emerge again. Brexit is absolutely not the issue for political point scoring. That is the height of irresponsible behaviour.
“The consequences of Brexit are all too real for people living along the border, for farmers, for small and medium business owners. Do they want to hear Timmy Dooley playing games with this issue? I don’t think so.
“Deputy Dooley’s comments have already been seized upon by the arch Brexiteers and the hard Tory right in England who are delighted to see a weakness in what has been a united Irish front until now. All for a petty tweet.
“Does Micheál Martin agree with his own TD’s antics in trying to create a political row out of an issue that is such a threat to this country? Is this now the official FF position? It comes from a frontbench spokesman and has been liked on Twitter by their Brexit spokesperson. Does Deputy Martin support the use of the language of hardline brexiters to attack our own Taoiseach and criticising Ireland’s diplomatic efforts while they’re at it.
“Unlike Fianna Fáil, the approach of the Taoiseach and the Tanáiste has been responsible and consistent. Dating back to long before the Brexit vote even took place the Irish Government has been working on contingency plans for the possibility of a hard Brexit.
“As Timmy well knows, the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, the Tánaiste, Simon Coveney, the Minister for European Affairs, Helen McEntee and the full weight of the Irish diplomatic service have all been working on finding a solution. They have also been using all diplomatic efforts to ensure British Irish relations are protected into the future. In relation to the new Prime Minister, there has been contact at official level and it’s expected that the Taoiseach and the Prime Minister will speak in the near future.
“The Irish Government will continue to work constructively with the UK Government to find a solution to this impasse. And unlike Fianna Fáil, we remain consistent in our message and our strategy-the best way to move forward is to ratifiy the existing Withdrawal Agreement, supported by the EU 27.”