Sunday 22 October 2017

The once loyal followers who have fallen out with Sinn Fein

OUT OF THE PARTY: Melissa O’Neill
OUT OF THE PARTY: Melissa O’Neill
Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan

Sorcha O'Neill is one of a number of once loyal elected representatives and members who have fallen out with Sinn Fein in recent years.

Some have quit the party, others have been expelled, and some remain in Sinn Fein but have criticised the party publicly. Some have claimed they were bullied, some they were mistreated. Sinn Fein has repeatedly insisted that bullying isn't tolerated in the party. Sinn Fein has also said that local disputes arise but it's not always possible to resolve them, as demonstrated by our list of those who have had issues with the party.

Sorcha O'Neill was a councillor in Kildare. She resigned from Sinn Fein in April, claiming she experienced "bullying, hostility and aggression".

Another of the people on our list, Melissa O'Neill, organised a meeting in Waterford last weekend for disaffected members and former members of the party.

More meetings are expected to be held in the coming weeks.

O'Neill, a councillor in Kilkenny, was expelled from Sinn Fein last year, after a disciplinary process over video footage that emerged of a public argument. She alleges she had been bullied prior to the video and is considering legal action against the party.

OUT OF THE PARTY: John Snell
OUT OF THE PARTY: John Snell

Others to have fallen out with Sinn Fein include:

Lisa Marie Sheehy, councillor in Limerick. She resigned from Sinn Fein in September, claiming she had been "undermined, bullied and humiliated";

Gerry O'Neill, councillor in Wicklow, was expelled from Sinn Fein in September. He is one of three councillors who challenged the party in a dispute over internal leadership roles. He has accused "unelected" party figures of undue influence and control;

John Snell, councillor in Wicklow. He was expelled from Sinn Fein in September, and is another of the Wicklow trio who challenged the party about internal leadership roles;

OUT OF THE PARTY: Lisa Marie Sheehy
OUT OF THE PARTY: Lisa Marie Sheehy

Oliver O'Brien, councillor in Wicklow. Expelled from Sinn Fein in September, he is the third of the Wicklow councillors to challenge Sinn Fein's internal leadership roles;

Tara O'Grady, human rights activist and Sinn Fein member. Expelled from the party in July. She believes it was because she assisted the three Wicklow councillors by accompanying them to meetings with Sinn Fein;

Eugene Greenan, former councillor in Cavan. Resigned from his Sinn Fein council seat in June, but remains a party member. Although he left in part for personal reasons, he later accused Sinn Fein of having an "element of dictatorship" and of "acting like bullies";

Paul Hogan, councillor in Westmeath. Although he remains a Sinn Fein councillor, he claimed in June that he was "bullied", "threatened" and subjected to a "whispering campaign" by elements in the party;

Seamus Morris, councillor in Tipperary. An attempt to expel him from the local organisation earlier this year failed, and he remains a Sinn Fein councillor. He claimed last month that he was subjected to a nine-month campaign of harassment and slander, and considered taking his own life;

Sandra McLellan, former Sinn Fein TD for Cork East. She declined to run in the 2016 general election and claimed there had been attempts to "undermine and malign" her within the party;

Ger Keohane, councillor in Cork East. Resigned from Sinn Fein in November 2015, and although he has not spoken publicly, it is believed he was unhappy with the party;

June Murphy, councillor in Cork East. Resigned from Sinn Fein in 2015, but did not speak publicly about her reasons until last month, claiming there is a "bullying culture" in Sinn Fein and that the party demeans women;

Kieran McCarthy, councillor in Cork East, Expelled from Sinn Fein in June 2015, after an internal inquiry accused him of "uncomradely" behaviour, which he denied. His expulsion was later lifted but he refused to return to the party;

Jonathan Dowdall, former councillor in Dublin. Resigned in 2014 for health reasons but he also claimed there was a "whispering campaign" and of "bullying" within the party. He has since been jailed for a false imprisonment and threats.

Sunday Independent

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