Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin speaking at his party’s Ard Fheis. RollingNews.ie photo.
By Anthony Neeson
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin says now is not the right time for a general election in Ireland.
Speaking at the party’s 79th Ard Fheis in Dublin, Mr. Martin said political stability was more important due to the uncertainties created by Brexit, with the UK due to leave the European Union in less than four weeks.
Since 2016 political rivalries in the Republic have been set aside as Fianna Fáil has lent its support to the minority Fine Gael government.
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“The first thing we need is a government which can recognize, acknowledge and respond to people’s problems,” said Mr. Martin.
“In normal times there would be no question about what should happen to this government, but we have to accept the harsh reality of this very moment.
“Ireland faces a genuinely historic threat from Brexit and it has to have a government in place if we are to have any chance of limiting its damage.”
Mr. Martin said Brexit was not a “passing issue.”
And he continued: “It is a blow at the very foundations of much of the progress which our country and Europe have secured together in the past fifty years. If there is a chaotic Brexit, then the damage will be severe and it will be swift.
“The Department of Finance says it will reduce job numbers by 55,000 and hit public finances by €600 per household within months, and with much worse to come.
“Farmers and agrifood companies could lose an incredible €1.7 billion, the type of loss which of course would be felt far beyond the sector.
“British politics is paralyzed and the Bank of England says that Brexit is already damaging Britain by over half a billion per week, before it has even taken place.
“In the face of the political shambles in London, Ireland simply has to be able to react quickly to every development.
“Ireland needs a government and parliament which are in place and capable of taking decisions.
“Calling an election today would see us spend up to four months both campaigning and forming a government. Nobody who genuinely has Ireland’s interests at heart could tolerate this.”