TD: I was victim of vicious bullying campaign by SF
An outgoing Sinn Féin TD has spoken for the first time about being bullied within the party, claiming that she was the victim of a "vicious" campaign.
Cork East TD Sandra McLellan has revealed she intended to defend her Dail seat - but opted to step down because of the impact on her family.
Ms McLellan said she was constantly undermined by figures within the party.
"I was a good TD. I love politics and I love my job. I wanted to go for another five years because I felt I had much more to give and polling suggested I had a very good chance of being re-elected. I am now unemployed," Ms McLellan said in an interview with the 'Cork Evening Echo'.
"So why would anyone who loves their job so much give it up voluntarily? Efforts to undermine me were particularly vicious and I had a decision to make regarding my family.
"When it affects the people you love and your close supporters so much, it's time to say enough is enough," she added.
The decision by Ms McLellan to speak out about her experience within Sinn Féin raises major questions for party leader Gerry Adams. Mr Adams has previously thanked Ms McLellan for her service but has not divulged the nature of her bullying allegations.
In her interview with the Echo, Ms McLellan does not name any individual.
But she says her record in the Dáil was questioned, and that this does not reflect her work.
"I gave my very level best. All you have to do is look at the Dáil records. I had one of the highest voting records, I had one of the best attendance records and I had one of the best records when it comes to speaking.
"I have been committed and reliable to serving my constituents and my country. I prefer to keep my head down, work away and not look for soundbites and headlines. Don't confuse that with not performing. Just because other people say it, doesn't mean it's true."
"I behaved like a TD should. Some people tried to defame me and my record, saying I was not performing....I'm proud of my work."