ONE of Sinn Féin’s leading female TDs has insisted the party does not tolerate bullying.
Dublin Fingal deputy Louise O’Reilly today said the party has procedures in place to deal with allegations of bullying, which she said arise in all organisations.
But she insisted the party does not have a bullying problem - despite a number of high profile resignations in recent weeks.
The Sunday Business Post reported this week that Sinn Féin was told by its own legal advisor two years ago that its disciplinary procedures needed to change.
Since then several councillors, many of whom are female, have quit citing bullying, harassment and intimidation.
Speaking to reporters at Leinster House, Ms O’Reilly said the party does not tolerate bullying.
“I can tell you something. I worked as a trade union official for a long number of years. I know and I understand in a very technical way what is and what isn’t bullying. It is not tolerated in my party, I can tell you that absolutely,” Ms O’Reilly said.
“In any organisation when there is a large number of people, there are going to be difficulties. Of course there are going to be difficulties.
"What I’m saying to you is that it is not tolerated in our party. That behaviour is not tolerated. The party has procedures, those procedures are there to deal with any person, my party, your organisation, this organisation and organisations outside.”
Earlier this month, Limerick representative Lisa Marie Sheehy became the latest public representative to quit over what she described as “bullyboy politics”.
Ms Sheehy said she will now serve as an independent representative having experienced “intimidation” of a verbal nature from a small number of colleagues.
Claims have bullying have been made in a number of other constituencies, including Tipperary, Kildare, Westmeath and Cork East.
Ruth Dudley Edwards
Knowing the bloody, cruel and counter-productive IRA campaign that their political wing still retrospectively honours, and its abject failure to bring about the United Ireland for which it fought, what kind of person in the Republic of Ireland would join Sinn Fein these days?