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Cullinane left out of SF talks team after 'Up the Ra' remark

  

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Left out: David Cullinane has been excluded from the negotiating team. Picture: PA

Left out: David Cullinane has been excluded from the negotiating team. Picture: PA

PA

Left out: David Cullinane has been excluded from the negotiating team. Picture: PA

Senior Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane has been excluded from the main negotiating team to form a government.

It comes after his "Up the Ra" remark at a late-night celebration on Sunday night.

A Sinn Fein TD who was filmed shouting "Up the 'Ra" during a victory speech has defended the comment, saying it happened during "the excitement of the night". Waterford TD David Cullinane was recorded making the comment as he spoke to supporters hours after he was elected. He said Sunday was a "very emotional day" for him but that the comments were not about the future.

Mr Cullinane, a frontbench Sinn Féin spokesperson and ard chomhairle member, has defended saying "Up the Ra" at an event marking his re-election to the Dáil in Waterford.

In a video from a post-election rally, Mr Cullinane said: "Up the Republic, Up the Ra. Tiocfaidh ár lá."

He was addressing party supporters after being re-elected to the Dáil for a third term.

Before he made the comments, he praised IRA hunger striker Kevin Lynch who ran as a candidate in Waterford while being imprisoned in the North in the 1980s.

Mr Cullinane said he never distanced himself from the IRA or the hunger strikers since entering politics.

Speaking on WLR FM yesterday, he also talked up his negotiating credentials, saying he had been involved in the St Andrew's Agreement talks in the 2000s and been to Downing Street on a number of occasions where he had met with Tony Blair.

But despite an expectation within the party he would be part of the Sinn Féin team to negotiate for a programme for government, he was not part of the line-up unveiled by finance spokesman Pearse Doherty outside party HQ in Dublin last night.

Mr Doherty will lead the Sinn Féin delegation, with housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin, health spokeswoman Louise O'Reilly and Matt Carthy, the former MEP, who was elected to the Dáil, also involved.

Mr Doherty also slapped down his colleague last night, saying: "I think there's a lesson for everybody not to be giving speeches at two o'clock in the morning and letting yourself get carried away in terms of the euphoria of winning over 20,000 votes in Waterford, but he has apologised and I think that was the right thing."

A transcript of the event recorded Mr Cullinane's election agent saying: "We broke the Free State."

Asked about those remarks, Mr Doherty said: "I think those comments are completely inappropriate and I haven't heard the comments myself, but they're completely inappropriate."

Irish Independent