Sinn Fein split in Cork East threatens Dáil berth
Published 25/06/2015 | 02:30
The split within Sinn Féin's Cork East organisation is so bitter many fear it may cost the party its Dáil berth.
Central to the crisis is the breakdown in the relationship between Cork East TD Sandra McLellan and the party's long-standing councillor Kieran McCarthy.
While the party hierarchy have emphatically sided with Ms McLellan, elements of the Cork East organisation have backed Mr McCarthy and his Mallow-based colleague Councillor Melissa Mullane.
Mr McCarthy was expelled from Sinn Féin last Monday while Councillor Mullane was suspended for a year.
The Cobh-based politician has insisted his expulsion is entirely about the selection convention for next year's general election.
He also claimed it was about his criticisms of how the party was conducting work in the Cobh and Cork harbour area.
"I was the one being left to do all the work," he said.
Incredibly, it emerged neither Mr McCarthy nor Ms McLellan had spoken for three years.
Matters dramatically deteriorated when Sinn Féin decided to shut its Cobh constituency clinic.
Sinn Féin, while publicly refusing to comment on the specifics of the expulsion, rejected the Dail selection claims.
Sources insisted to the Irish Independent that the actions were to do with complaints lodged to an internal review.
These centred on dealings between Mr McCarthy, Ms McLellan and other Sinn Féin officials in Cork East.
Other allegations have been made which Mr McCarthy claimed was a blatant attempt to "blacken" his name.
Ms McLellan has not commented on the crisis but friends said she was "deeply upset" by developments.
The Youghal-based former union shop steward won the party's first seat in modern times in the largely rural four-seat constituency in 2011.