Wednesday 16 January 2019

Sinn Féin TD approached ‘about getting someone shot’, claims councillor

Noeleen Reilly
Noeleen Reilly
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

A councillor who quit Sinn Féin alleged TD Dessie Ellis told party members that another activist had “approached him and wanted someone shot”.

Noeleen Reilly made the astonishing claim in a letter where she also told Sinn Féin bosses she was left “black and blue” following an assault by a woman close to the former IRA bomb-maker.

In a complaint compiled before she resigned from Sinn Féin, Ms Reilly alleged Gerry Adams and Mary Lou McDonald did not respond when she alerted them to concerns for her personal safety.

Sinn Fein insists Ms Reilly was advised to refer matters to the gardaí.

The letter, seen by the Irish Independent, details what Ms Reilly describes as “violence, corruption and bullying” in Sinn Féin. She quit the party yesterday after 17 years, saying she

went up “against the wrong people and this was never a battle I was going to win”. At one point in the lengthy correspondence, Ms Reilly claims that Dessie Ellis “told party members” that an individual linked to the constituency dispute “approached him and wanted someone shot”.

“I have no idea if this is true but this is what he advised members and they are willing to come forward.”

Party HQ was quick to refute the claims, issuing a statement from another councillor, Cathleen Carney Boud, in which she claimed to be “the victim of an orchestrated online bully campaign” at the hands of Ms Reilly. The bitter dispute in the Dublin North West constituency poses a major problem for Ms McDonald days ahead of her official elevation to Sinn Féin president.

The party’s health spokesperson Louise O’Reilly was sent out yesterday to try to play down the row, describing it as a “localised” incident. However, Ms Reilly is at least the 15th public representative in recent years to leave the party due to a dispute.

She refused to elaborate on her resignation statement yesterday – but the Irish Independent has seen a document in which she outlined her issues with the party.

The Ballymun representative described how Mr Ellis and others “have done their utmost to get me to leave the party”. She detailed the alleged assault at Naomh Fionnbarra GAA club in Cabra in March 2016.

“This was an unprovoked attack from behind,” she says, adding that a person in the party later told her it would be dealt with.

Instead, Ms Reilly said, people in the party, including Mr Ellis, “tried to justify my assault which I just found so disgusting and hurtful”.

She claimed that a photograph of her alleged attacker with Mary Lou McDonald was published on Twitter four weeks after the incident.

A Sinn Féin spokesperson said Ms Reilly was told “on numerous occasions” to report the alleged incident to gardaí.

In her letter, Ms Reilly also says: “For the best part of two years, I have not spoken to the media in order to protect the party on this matter.”

“If the public knew that a Sinn Féin TD was lying about the violent assault of a councillor, I believe that his position as an elected representative would be untenable,” she wrote.

In light of her resignation from the party, Sinn Féin called on Ms Reilly to step down as a councillor and hand “the Sinn Féin Dublin City Council seat back to the party”.

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