Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has dismissed the Taoiseach’s claims that small-to-medium enterprises have most to fear from Sinn Féin’s policies, which he described as “anti-enterprise”.
Mr Martin was speaking on Wednesday at the official opening of a multimillion-euro expansion of medical technology company Stryker’s production facility in Carrigtwohill.
Mr Ó Laoghaire responded to Mr Martin’s claims, saying: “He always tries to put this line out every so often and he knows it has no real credibility. It is questionable whether he has any credibility in this area himself given that he was a government minister when the IMF came in, unemployment reached record heights, and countless businesses went under. He would want to look at his own record a bit more closely in that regard.”
The Sinn Féin TD for Cork South Central said his party wants to ensure businesses can be supported.
“We have a wide range of proposals. We are very focused on ensuring that businesses can be supported, particularly SMEs,” he said.
“They are the backbone of local communities and we would be keen to support them via several means. We would be particularly keen to support start-up businesses and ensure it is easier for employers to take on apprentices.
“SMEs know that Sinn Féin is keen to support, and we recognise the value they play in the local economy. I think Micheál Martin knows this, but he is seeking to put out a fake line out of sheer desperation. Sinn Féin will be a strong supporter of small and local businesses and ensure that we have adequate jobs created both in Cork and nationwide.
“It seems he was really rooting around in his goodie bag.”
Mr Ó Laoghaire also rejected the Taoiseach’s criticism of Sinn Féin for being historically opposed to the EU.
“The EU has evolved and the party’s position has evolved. We support staying in the EU,” said Mr Ó Laoghaire. “We want to see the EU reformed. We have not advocated for decades withdrawing from the EU.
“We have seen the benefits of the approach taken by Sinn Féin MEPs in pushing various agendas of securing special status for the North and eventually it became the protocol. We are not anti-European and Micheál knows that.”
Mr Martin dismissed the chances of doing business with Sinn Féin due to its policies, but Mr Ó Laoghaire said people want “change”.
“The position he took in the last general election was dishonest, trying to pretend he was not going to talk to Sinn Féin or Fine Gael,” he said. “He ended up breaking his word in relation to Fine Gael, trying to keep Sinn Féin out.”