Wednesday 13 November 2019

Hollywood actor Jack Reynor's mother thrown out of Sinn Féin

Hollywood actor Jack Reynor and his mother Tara
Hollywood actor Jack Reynor and his mother Tara

Niall O'Connor

The mother of Irish Hollywood actor Jack Reynor has been thrown out of the Sinn Féin party over a bizarre internal feud.

Tara Reynor-O'Grady, a respected human rights activist, got a letter last week with a €5 note attached, detailing how her membership had been rescinded.

The letter was sent just days after Ms Reynor-O'Grady represented three local councillors in a dispute with party bosses.

The three councillors from Wicklow are now being told they must give up their seats, after a fallout with local TD John Brady. The councillors are John Snell, Oliver O'Brien and Gerry O'Neill. Mr O'Neill last night called on Mr Brady to resign.

The dispute is the most serious Sinn Féin has dealt with in a long time. There are a number of elements. Firstly, the three councillors are angry that Nicola Lawless, a Greystones councillor, was appointed without their consultation.

Secondly, Michael O'Brien from Bray was co-opted onto the council without consultation with the three councillors.

Above all, the councillors feel they have been sidelined as a result of raising concerns.

"Human-rights defenders represent everybody - from the mother and baby homes to local politics. My job is to ensure transparency. Sinn Féin has a lot to answer," Ms Reynor-O'Grady said.

The row centres on a move by the party to install a close associate of the local TD John Brady as the group's chairperson.

The decision to appoint Bray-based councillor Michael O'Connor to the post infuriated the three councillors at the centre of the row.

The three councillors last night confirmed they would not be giving up their seats - against the will of the party.

On a number of occasions in recent months, some or all of the councillors voted against party line or abstained.

All three have objected strongly to the party's handling of the issue and have attended a number of meetings with senior party figures keen to resolve the row in recent weeks.

Sinn Féin did not respond to comment.

One of the councillors, Gerry O'Neill, last night released a statement, saying: "I joined Sinn Féin in 1971 in the old Kevin Street office and have worked hard on behalf of the people of Wicklow and my party for those 46 years, but am bitterly disappointed at the level of control we have to adhere to of late and it's getting to the point where the so-called leadership in the county should maybe consider putting robots in the council chamber instead of human beings," he said.

Irish Independent

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