Friday 18 October 2019

Councillor who left Sinn Féin amid bullying allegations 'feared the decision would cost her her seat'

Councillor Noeleen Reilly Picture: Arthur Carron
Councillor Noeleen Reilly Picture: Arthur Carron

Wayne O’Connor

Ballymun-Finglas councillor Noeleen Reilly, who left Sinn Féin last year amid allegations of “physical assaults, verbal abuse, total isolation, smear campaigns”, said she feared the decision would cost her her council seat.

Mr Reilly was returned to Dublin City Council today on the fifth count, securing the second of six seats in the area.

She said she was delighted with the support she received in the area and admitted she was worried if her support base would follow her after leaving Sinn Féin.

"I didn’t know how this was going to go but in the past couple of weeks I got a sense that there was a lot of support there for me. I have had a great team behind me and the Ballymun community has come out and supported me overwhelmingly, which means the world to me," she said after the result was declared in the RDS.

Her supporters said her decision to leave the party was vindicated but Ms Reilly said the fact she came out over Sinn Feín in the area speaks for itself.

Fianna Fáil’s Paul McAuliffe topped the poll in Ballymun, with him and Mr Reilly finishing well ahead of the four Sinn Féin candidates in the area.

She said she thought Sinn Féin ran four candidates to have an effect on her vote. She accused the party of "negative" campaigning. She said she had no regrets in leaving the party.

"I think it benefited me in the end. They will have to do their own homework and analysis on the campaign they ran. It was very negative. We ran a very positive campaign and people endorsed it and appreciated that.

"The people have spoken."

She admitted she was worried at times over the past 12 months that leaving Sinn Féin would lead to her losing her seat.

"When I got elected first time I didn’t know if it was my vote of the Sinn Féin vote.

"The low turnout had me worried but my vote turned up and that’s a good thing."

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