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Thursday 27 July 2017

'I was subjected to vile allegations and kangaroo court' - ex-Sinn Féin mayor

Paul Hogan: alleges bullying. Photo: David Walsh
Paul Hogan: alleges bullying. Photo: David Walsh

Eoghan O'Connell and Niall O'Connor

A Sinn Féin politician has accused the party of subjecting him to a "kangaroo court" after he raised allegations of bullying.

A former mayor of Athlone, Councillor Paul Hogan has alleged that bullying is "rife" throughout the party. Mr Hogan said that he became a victim of a "spurious and unrelenting campaign of whispering and innuendo" after breaking up with his then partner.

Mr Hogan claims that the "most insidious and vile allegations" were levelled at him by Sinn Féin members in his constituency.

In an extraordinary set of allegations, the four-times general election candidate claimed that he was subjected to a kangaroo court - an allegation that was strongly rejected by the party last night.

He said: "I was subjected to at least one kangaroo court. I have been bullied since October 2015. I have been intimidated and threatened. I have received a death threat. I am the victim of an anonymous hate-mail campaign."

Mr Hogan claimed that Sinn Féin effectively withdrew its support at the last General Election. He narrowly lost out to Labour TD Willie Penrose.

"I received little or no support from Sinn Féin in the last General Election.

"In fact, Sinn Féin's management line withdrew all resources from my campaign and actually tried to hide posters and literature paid for by the local organisation," he said.

"I documented all that happened to me, detailing the kangaroo court, threats, intimidation, bullying, witch-hunts and whispering campaigns.

"I then submitted an official complaint of over 80 instances of varying levels of bullying to the new disciplinary committee of Sinn Féin, who refused to deal with the issues contained in the complaint. This is a clear attempt to cover up and protect those who tried to destroy my reputation."

Last night, Sinn Féin said complaints received about Mr Hogan had been investigated but not upheld.

It said: "Since then, the party has done all in its power to heal the rifts within the constituency and the majority of members are continuing the work of the party with Councillor Hogan.

"It is not true to say that Councillor Hogan received little or no support from Sinn Féin in the General Election. In fact, the party president Gerry Adams was in the constituency canvassing with Councillor Hogan during the campaign.

"Sinn Féin takes these matters extremely seriously.

"In accordance with legal advice to the party, we have established a National Investigation Committee to handle complaints of this nature. We are not involved in kangaroo courts and we reject this allegation in the strongest terms."

It added that "death threats" were a matter for gardaí.

Irish Independent

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