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Friday, January 21, 2022

Varadkar accused of ‘throwing stones’ at Sinn Féin after labelling the party populist and having no principals

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has accused Sinn Féin of being a populist party, but never principled during a speech to mark the centenary of the Dáil vote on the Anglo-Irish Treaty.

Varadkar said: “They are, by their own admission, a populist party. They are, for the moment, a popular party. But they are not, and have never been, a principled party.”


The Fine Gael leader accused Mary Lou McDonald’s party of ignoring every single historical fact that clashes with their “carefully fabricated” self-image. Varadkar continued to claim they appeal to the past, based on the falsification of history and claim a lineage that is not real.

Former Fine Gael TD Kate O’Connell targeted Varadkar’s comments, criticising his remarks and saying: “I don’t think it’s the right time to be throwing stones. The methodology of attacking Sinn Féin for sins, or perceived sins, of the past, doesn’t seem to wash with younger voters. So from a vote-getting strategy, it doesn’t look to be working.”

O’Connell said she did not agree with moving back to divisive arguments from a century ago, saying she would prefer if the Tánaiste focused on a more positive message and articulated a vision for the future.


A number of Sinn Féin TDs also took aim at the Tánaiste’s comments, including Matt Carthy TD, who claimed that Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are so devoid of any vision that they have resorted to attacking the opposition.

Carthy said: “I think Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are so devoid of any vision, any ambition for our country, that all they have left to resort to is attacks on the opposition. I think people are increasingly seeing beyond that.”

“It’s almost laughable to get a history lesson from Fine Gael who themselves tried to claim Michael Collins, who died 11 years before that party was founded,” he continued.

Simultaneously, Sinn Féin’s Louise O’Reilly TD further criticised Leo Varadkar for using every available opportunity to criticise her party, but also accused him of having no clear vision for the future of Ireland.

O’Reilly said: “I would have thought that perhaps he would want to address the failings that the party is experiencing at the moment. They’re plummeting in the polls, they can’t seem to arrest that.”

“We know the Tánaiste himself wants to lecture us about principles, but he is a man under investigation by An Garda Síochana presently; I think it would serve him better to maybe address his own party about his own party issues, rather than constantly obsess about Sinn Fein.”

Fianna Fáil TD Jim O’Callaghan said Varadkar’s comments on Sinn Féin being a populist party was no great revelation. O’Callaghan said “it’s like saying the Pope is a Catholic.”

However, O’Callaghan warned that he does not want to see Ireland go down a similar path of the United States or the United Kingdom, where they’re are two antagonistic opposition groups who do not trust each other.

Taoiseach says Sinn Féin is in a ‘very destructive opposition mode’

The Tánaiste’s comments come just over one week since Taoiseach Micheál Martin accused Sinn Féin as being in destructive opposition mode. Martin said: “My sense of Sinn Féin at the moment is that it’s in a very destructive, resolute opposition mode, opposing everything that moves literally, politically.”

The Fianna Fáil leader went on to say that he found it extraordinary that Sinn Féin had remained absolutely silent on the Russian build-up of troops on the Ukraine border. Furthermore, he accused the move of being “anti-European”.

Martin went on to criticise Sinn Féin’s promises and pledges should they get into Government, saying the level and range of what they’re promising does not add up, as it amounts to billions at this stage. Martin said: “A lot of their policies don’t add up, their housing policies don’t add up.”

He accused Sinn Féin of remaining silent about their European and international policies, saying he believes at heart they are still an anti-European Union party.

The Taoiseach said: “I was struck in the Dáil in the debate leading into the European Council, for example, they were absolutely silent on the massive Russian military build-up on the Ukraine border. I found that extraordinary.”

“I’ve noticed this for the last number of years, Sinn Féin will never criticise Russia, always remain silent.”

IMAGE – PA Images


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