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28 April 2013 Edition

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Micheál Martin's struggle with republicanism

• Martin devoted much of his party’s Easter Rising commemoration to attacking Sinn Féin

“If Mícheál Martin is serious about Fianna Fáil’s republicanism he should support Sinn Féin’s demand for a Border poll rather than attacking genuine republicans and their efforts to reunify the country.”

FIANNA FÁIL leader Mícheál Martin – ever-present as minister in the disastrous Cabinets of Fianna Fáil leaders such as Bertie Ahern from 1997 right up to 2011, when he switched allegiance to Brian Cowen – devoted a large slice of his party’s 1916 Rising commemoration at Arbour Hill on 21 April to attacking Sinn Féin.

Irish Times Political Correspondent Harry McGee pinpointed why Martin spends so much time talking about Sinn Féin.

“The speech, and its focus on Sinn Féin,” McGee wrote, “was received as an effort by Fianna Fáil to assert its republican credentials against a party which has posed an increased electoral threat in the South.”

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said Mícheál Martin’s party has no interest in the North other than using it as a political football in the electoral contest with Sinn Féin in Southern elections:

“If Mícheál Martin is serious about Fianna Fáil’s republicanism he should support Sinn Féin’s demand for a Border poll rather than attacking genuine republicans and their efforts to reunify the country.”

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