Thursday 8 December 2016

'I am ashamed of that video, it’s not who I am' - Sinn Féin councillor suspended after aggressive incident with neighbours caught on camera

Meadhbh McGrath

Published 30/05/2016 | 13:12

Melissa O'Neill with Gerry Adams
Melissa O'Neill with Gerry Adams

A Sinn Féin councillor has been suspended after an aggressive encounter with her neighbours was caught on camera.

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The footage shows councillor Melissa O’Neill (45) making a crude gesture while arguing with local residents.

Ms O’Neill, who is originally from Co Limerick, was elected to Kilkenny County Council in 2014.

The clip shows her arguing with her neighbours in the Abbeylands estate in Ferrybank, on the Kilkenny-Waterford border.

She has lived in the estate for seven years with her 12-year-old son.

In the two-minute video, posted to Facebook, she strides towards a woman recording events on her mobile phone and holds her middle finger up to the camera.

“Go for it,” she says, and then becomes embroiled in a heated exchange with another woman wearing a dressing gown.

“Cllr Melissa O'Neill has been suspended from Sinn Féin pending the conclusion of party disciplinary procedures,” a spokesperson for the party said.

Melissa O'Neill with Gerry Adams
Melissa O'Neill with Gerry Adams

Speaking to Independent.ie, Ms O’Neill said she had “had enough”.

“I was working for 10 hours that day, and I hadn’t eaten. I had a glass of wine. I was tired, I was exhausted. I am ashamed of that video, it’s not who I am,” she said.

“You could see me putting my hand on my hip and walking over and saying, 'video me!' I had enough. I am human, and I had enough.”

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