Party Leaders playing games as Brexit summit looms

16 June 2018

Speaking ahead of the Tom Johnson Summer School, Labour Party Leader, Brendan Howlin TD has said it is clear the Government are intent on bluffing their way to the summer recess, rather than offer solutions.

Deputy Howlin said:

“On Thursday, I spent the day in London. The situation there is perilous. The possibility is growing that the UK could crash out of the EU before a comprehensive deal is struck.

“Not because of the position adopted by the EU at Ireland’s behest, as some domestic commentators suggest. But because the internal dysfunction and rivalries in the Conservative Party make the British Government incapable of making a deal, and sticking to it.

“The matter will come to a head next week.

“The consequences of a hard Brexit for jobs in Ireland, particularly in the agri-food sector, would be catastrophic. 

“The test for any Government is its ability to deal with multiple crises at the same time, and to continue to deliver on other policy pledges. The current Government seems capable of neither and they seem more intent on bluffing their way to the summer recess than making best use of the available time to hammer out solutions to pressing issues. 

“Labour could not vote confidence in Minister Murphy, no more than it could vote confidence in Minister Harris’ handling of waiting lists.

“Sinn Féin have lauded their ambitions for Government. Let me say to them clearly that the primary test of their readiness for Government is their willingness to pursue the Irish national interest wherever and whenever necessary. Next week that is in Westminster. Talk of border polls at this time is unrealistic and an easy cop out. What are their concrete proposals?

“Housing remains the largest domestic crisis, but rather than focus on solutions, the Government and Sinn Féin are engaged in a game of bluff and counter-bluff about elections, rather than pushing realistic solutions to exorbitant rents and insecurity of tenure. 

“But the Brexit crisis is real and is coming to a head. In that context, rather than talking about snap elections, the Government needs to focus much more seriously on the scale of the threat to Irish people’s jobs and incomes if Brexit goes as badly wrong as it could.

“And while dealing with these crises, we have to continue to deliver on the laws that we promised to deliver.

“Be in no doubt, Labour is ready for the next election, whenever it comes. But after 35 years of failing women, it is more important to see the 8th referendum result put into law before any talk of another election.”

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