Are Sinn Féin ‘talking Ireland down’ when they criticise Government policy?
At the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis this weekend, Taoiseach Micheál Martin hit out at those, “who dismiss the progress we have achieved and seek to tell a story of Ireland as some type of ‘failed state’”.
Such people, he added, “are deliberately misleading our people and selling our country short.”
It is a criticism that his party colleague, Cathal Crowe TD, heartily endorses:
“Sinn Féin certainly have their sights on Government and they want to take us down at all costs,” he complained to Newstalk Breakfast.
“But that’s very damaging to Ireland Inc.”
He added that the business community in particular were concerned about the prospect of Sinn Féin in power:
“They [business people] fear that they’re not loyal to the state, their loyalty is the party, the tribe of Sinn Féin.
“And overall I think it damages the brand of Ireland Inc.
“And it’s one thing to be jostling politically in a political chamber but I think the approach they’re taking is exploitative of the current difficulties I suppose we’re in as a country… But whilst it might serve Sinn Féin, it certainly doesn’t serve Ireland Inc or the people of Ireland well.”
'We’re doing catastrophically on health and housing'
For Maurice Quinlivan, Sinn Féin TD for Limerick, the accusation is ridiculous considering the challenges the country faces:
“I don’t think we’ve ever said we’re a ‘failed state’. I don’t know where that comment is coming from apart from An Taoiseach,” he said.
“It certainly wasn’t Sinn Féin. If you look at any press releases we’ve ever put out, while we might be attacking the Government, we’d also put in our positive vision of how Ireland can be managed much, much better.
“Everyone would agree we’re doing well on jobs but we’re doing catastrophically on health and housing… We’ve a whole generation locked out of the housing market.”
Polls suggest that Sinn Féin remains the most popular party in the state by some margin. This, Mr Quinlivan believes, is why Fianna Fáil has resorted to such angry attacks:
“I think where the Taoiseach is coming from is that his party is not doing too well in the polls,” he explained.
“Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have been in Government for the last 100 years and now they’ve come up against what I believe is the most effective opposition to them and they don’t like it one bit.
“And that’s why they come out with this stuff. We’re very ambitious for this country.”
Main image: Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald with Pearse Doherty and Louise O Reilly. Picture by: RollingNews.ie