In quotes: Momentous day at the Dáil as Frances Fitzgerald resigns

In a remarkable day of events which pulled the Irish Government back from the brink of a snap election, here are some of the key reflections by those at the heart of the crisis:

Bowing out, Frances Fitzgerald said: “Throughout my career, I have always sought to act with integrity and responsibility, and that is why I have decided on this occasion to put the national interest ahead of my own personal reputation.”

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told the Dáil: “This is not the way I want to see parliament or government operate and isn’t the kind of issues I want to be focused on. What I want to be focused on are negotiations in relation to Brexit.”

Fianna Fail’s Dara Calleary referenced reports of last week’s scenes in the Dáil bar when party colleagues revelled in Frances Fitzgerald’s crisis: “There will be no cheering today. It’s been a sad week.”

Amid speculation that Fine Gael backbenchers were ready to break ranks and hang out Frances Fitzgerald, the Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin said: “The Taoiseach has lost the dressing room.”

Alan Kelly, the Labour TD who began parliamentary questions about the whistleblower affair which ultimately cost Frances Fitzgerald her job, said: “It was inevitable. It does not give me any pleasure.”

Once news of the resignation broke, Sinn Féin’s deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said: “There was an absolute necessity for this to happen.”

Mick Wallace, Independents4Change TD, who was one of three TDs to back whistleblower Maurice McCabe when he first came forward, attacked the culture of politics, saying: “To watch games that are played in here by all sides, not just the Government, but all sides, I just find soul destroying. I’m just wondering is anything ever going to change?”

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams was unmoved by the prospects of the resignation bolstering Ireland’s hand in Brexit talks: “It does not make a blind bit of difference… The Taoiseach has a veto, he needs to use that veto, whether he does it with the whole bombast or whether he does it quietly is another issue but Brexit on British Tory terms is bad for every single person on this island and bad for the economy.”

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said: “This is about corruption and wrongdoing at the highest levels of the state and whether or not the Government colluded with a deliberate and concerted smear campaign of a whistleblower.”

The Independent Alliance, whose TDs support the minority Government, said: “In the context of serious issues such as Brexit, the country needs strong leadership, and most importantly, stability at this time.”

Source

http://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/ireland/in-quotes-momentous-day-at-the-dail-as-frances-fitzgerald-resigns-816213.html

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