Wednesday 21 February 2018

Councillors reject claims by Sinn Féin TD they set out to block gay marriage

Councillors Gerry O’Neill, Oliver O’Brien and John Snell have been stripped of the whip amid a dispute. Stock picture
Councillors Gerry O’Neill, Oliver O’Brien and John Snell have been stripped of the whip amid a dispute. Stock picture
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

The TD at the centre of a bitter Sinn Féin row has accused his former colleagues of campaigning against marriage equality.

John Brady, the party's social protection spokesman, was yesterday forced to defend his handling of the row that has left the party in Co Wicklow split down the middle.

As reported last week, councillors Gerry O'Neill, Oliver O'Brien and John Snell have been stripped of the whip amid a dispute.

It is the only case currently in the country where a party's council delegation has been thrown out.

Tara Reynor O'Grady, the mother of Hollywood actor Jack Reynor, also had her membership cancelled after representing the councillors at a hearing.

The row intensified yesterday after Mr Brady told East Coast FM's 'The Morning Show' that Mr O'Neill and Mr O'Brien campaigned against the recent marriage equality referendum.

"Maybe this has been part of the difficulty when you have adopted Sinn Féin policy and individual councillors going out and doing their own thing, actively campaigning against the marriage equality referendum and bringing the party into disrepute," the Dáil deputy told broadcaster Declan Meehan.

Mr O'Neill accused Mr Brady of speaking a "total untruth".

"I know John is in a hole. But he's dug himself into a far greater hole," he said.

Mr O'Brien said the claims were "absolutely untrue".

Mr Brady also suggested that Mr Snell had embarked on a number of junkets.

Mr Snell also categorically denied the claim.

Irish Independent

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