Independent TD Mattie McGrath has hit back at criticism that he attempted to obstruct the government’s position on the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement. Deputy McGrath was speaking after claims were made that his support for a Dáil vote on the governments Brexit motion and associated amendments, which were debated last night, was unhelpful in terms of presenting a unified approach:
“I made it explicitly clear in my contribution last night that I fully supported the work of the government with respect to the Brexit motion; indeed I voted with it.
I am fully aware of how important it is that we present as unified a front as possible given the scale of the challenge that Brexit represents.
I knew that some colleagues in the smaller parties had placed amendments last night, and they were looking for support for them, which is only natural.
I have always held the view that there is very little, if anything to be lost by simply facilitating a vote on any issue that comes before the Dáil, and that is exactly what I did last night.
Given the loud and consistent criticism of Brexit as something which undermines democracy, it is somewhat ironic that we are now being criticised for simply calling a vote on issues raised in our own national parliament.
Even where I agree with motions that come before us, I think it is vitally important that those who hold a different view are allowed to make their voices known. One of the ways for them do that is to call a vote.
I fail to see what the problem is with that, with the exception that it might have interfered with the political optics that this government is so obsessed with,” concluded Deputy McGrath.