Sunday 25 February 2018

Disillusioned Sinn Fein rising star joined far left group Eirigi

Fionnan Sheahan

Fionnan Sheahan

LOUISE Minihan once joked she wanted to become Minister for Justice.

Yesterday she found herself in the back of a garda car, arrested after throwing paint at Health Minister Mary Harney.

The 29-year-old former Sinn Fein councillor was a key activist for the party's Dublin South-Central TD Aengus O Snodaigh.

After defecting from the party a year ago, she is now aligned with the radical left-wing republican group, Eirigi.

She comes from a relatively large family in the working class, south Dublin suburb of Ballyfermot and has three sisters and two brothers.

Her father went on the protests during the Hunger Strike in 1981 -- the year she was born. Ms Minihan left school when she was 16 after she got pregnant. Following the birth of her son, Keith, she completed an adult education course in computers and business accounting and later worked for a number of companies and for Sinn Fein. She lives with her partner and son in Ballyfermot.

Ms Minihan joined Sinn Fein Youth when she was 16 and she used to bring her infant son along to their meetings and commemorations.

She became the women's equality officer for Sinn Fein Youth in Dublin -- the first of a number of positions in the party organisation.

She is a former member of the Sinn Fein national executive and a founding member of the party's branch in Ballyfermot, which was set up in 1999.

A former vice-chairperson of Dublin Sinn Fein, Ms Minihan was co-opted on to Dublin City Council after Cllr Tony Smithers stepped down for family reasons.

Mr O Snodaigh, his wife Aisling, and Sinn Fein councillor Criona Ni Dhalaigh encouraged her to take the seat.

She was a canvas leader for Mr O Snodaigh's successful general election campaign in 2002, when he was elected to the Dail for the first time.

And she was director of elections for Mr O Snodaigh in the 2007 campaign.

Sinn Fein's national treasurer Treasa Quinn offered her a job in accounts for 'An Phoblacht', the party's propaganda newspaper.

Ms Minihan held the seat for Sinn Fein in last year's local elections, but left to join Eirigi a month later -- one of a number of defections from the party at the time.

She said she had joined Sinn Fein because she believed that the party was committed to ending the British rule in Northern Ireland and to the establishment of a 32-county republic.

"It is clear to me today that this is no longer the case," she was quoted as saying at the time.

When asked by 'An Phoblacht' a few years back where she saw herself in 20 years, she replied: "In a united Ireland succeeding deputy O Snodaigh on his retirement as Minister for Justice."

Irish Independent

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