Responding to the Wolfe Tone speech by Fianna Fáil Leader, Micheál Martin, Fine Gael Senator and spokesman on European Affairs, Neale Richmond, has stated that Martin’s late acceptance of the Government’s long-held Brexit strategy is to be welcomed.
“Deputy Martin travelled to Brussels this week and seems to now fully back the EU27’s strategy having repeatedly suggested, but failed to produce any papers on, a vague special economic zone for Northern Ireland.”
The Government has not changed position on Brexit once and Senator Richmond welcomed Deputy Martin’s endorsement of the position, even at this late stage.
“Deputy Martin has arrived at the position the Government took two years ago. That’s a good thing. Now is not the time for going weak at the knees, especially as 26 other EU governments are fully with Ireland.”
Senator Richmond also described as snide the Fianna Fáil leader’s dismissiveness of the efforts of thousands of businesses and all state agencies to get Brexit ready.
“The ongoing roadshows are not Ministerial, they are the first time any government has brought all state agencies under one roof for businesses to access.”
Senator Richmond pointed out that next Thursday’s roadshow (Oct 25th) has had to be moved to the Convention Centre in Dublin, such is the demand for tickets. More than 400 businesses attended Friday’s event on the border in Monaghan.
“Businesses are working really hard and the leader of the opposition firing brickbats from the sidelines on a Sunday serves no purpose. These roadshows are open to all and indeed many opposition politicians have supported them. It’s a shame Deputy Martin didn’t attend the Páirc Ui Chaoimh event along with 500 business people from Cork.”
Finally Senator Richmond pointed out that Budget 2019 saw millions in extra Brexit supports including €80 million for the agricultural sector, a €300 million medium-term loan scheme and tens of millions for state agencies to provide business supports.