Monday 27 May 2019

Explosive dossier lays bare vicious infighting among Sinn Féin factions

Dessie Ellis TD
Dessie Ellis TD

Niall O'Connor

Members of Sinn Féin claim they have been subjected to threats and labelled "thugs", "witch" and "ratface" amid a bitter dispute that has rocked the party.

In the clearest indication to date of the bullying problem facing the new Sinn Féin leadership, an explosive dossier details an extraordinary internal row between rival camps in Dublin.

The document, which has been obtained by the Irish Independent, reveals how some members have taken legal advice after being subjected to personal allegations that they say are defamatory and untrue.

It is further claimed that supporters, canvassers and some candidates were threatened and subjected to anonymous abuse on social media.

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

The alleged threats included "We know where you live" and "You better stay out of Ballymun", according to the dossier.

It is claimed that some activists were labelled "thugs", "ratface" and "witch".

The dossier, which has been sent to Sinn Féin councillors and senior party figures, lays bare the dispute in Dublin North West.

As revealed by this newspaper last week, Sinn Féin TD Dessie Ellis sent a legal letter to Ballymun Tidy Towns over remarks allegedly made about him at the organisation's annual general meeting earlier this month.

Mr Ellis claims that a completely false allegation was made against him at the meeting by a male supporter of Sinn Féin councillor Noeleen Reilly. The veteran TD claims it was alleged at the Tidy Towns meeting that he had a picture hanging in his constituency office of a woman who is not a Sinn Féin member.

The meeting allegedly heard that the face of the person in question had been circled by Mr Ellis alongside a derogatory term.

In his letter, sent through his solicitors earlier this month, Mr Ellis completely rejects the allegation and has warned the committee that it must not be repeated.

The Dublin North West deputy has also asked Sinn Féin to sanction the individual who allegedly made the allegations.

Party sources have since told the Irish Independent that the man who made the allegation had been suspended pending an inquiry.

Both Mr Ellis and Ms Reilly declined to comment last week.

A Sinn Féin spokesman said: "Sinn Féin is aware of the difficulties in the constituency and is continuing to work to bring them to a satisfactory conclusion."

But the dossier revealed today details how the dispute has ripped the local party apart.

"A number of very serious and untrue allegations, both personal and professional, about senior activists in Dublin North West have also been made. These serious allegations are currently being investigated by the party as part of its disciplinary processes," the dossier states.

"These personal remarks and defamation of family members of activists will not be tolerated and at least five members are taking legal advice.

"This is a civil matter and does not include Sinn Féin," it adds.

Irish Independent

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