Taoiseach issues mild rebuke in parting words to Boris Johnson, Mary Lou McDonald goes in two-footed
"Boris Johnson's interaction with Ireland has been wholly negative," said Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald.
Though he didn't actually utter the words 'I'm resigning', Boris Johnson is set to step down as UK Prime Minister following a week of intense pressure.
On Thursday afternoon, the under-fire PM made a statement outside 10 Downing Street, noting that he is "so sad to give up the best job in the world".
The timeline for Johnson's departure will be announced next week. His exit has been met with a major reaction from the world of politics and beyond. In terms of the former, high-profile Irish leaders have had their say and while it's all diplomatic enough, there was still room for a barb or two.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin began by extending his best wishes to Johnson, particularly in light of "a difficult few weeks". However, the Taoiseach did add, "while Prime Minister Johnson and I engaged actively together, we didn’t always agree, and the relationship between our Governments has been strained and challenged in recent times".
Turning his attention to the future, the Taoiseach said that nurturing broader bilateral relations is more important than ever.
"I would once again urge a pulling back from unilateral action, whether that be on dealing with the legacy of the past, human rights, or the Northern Ireland Protocol," he said. "We have now an opportunity to return to the true spirit of partnership and mutual respect that is needed to underpin the gains of the Good Friday Agreement."
The Taoiseach closed off his statement by signalling his intention to continue working with the UK Government and the incoming Prime Minister on all challenges, including the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald, meanwhile, proved less charitable in her remarks towards Johnson, describing his relationship with Ireland as "wholly negative".
"Under his leadership, the British government has consistently undermined the Good Friday Agreement and have threatened to breach international law on multiple occasions," said McDonald.
"They have foisted austerity on people. They brought us the disaster that is Brexit. And Boris Johnson's priority when it comes to the north has been to placate the DUP.
"We are now over two months on from the Assembly elections. Michelle O’Neill is the First Minister in waiting. The Executive and the Assembly need to be re-established.
"Whoever now assumes the position of British Prime Minister needs to change tack, work to restore the north's political institutions, and they need to acknowledge the primacy of international agreements and international law."
On the home front, Sinn Féin is reportedly considering tabling a motion of no-confidence in the current Irish administration.
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