Saturday 25 January 2020

'Jobs for the boys, nepotism and misogyny' drives councillor out of Sinn Féin

Sorcha McAnespy
Sorcha McAnespy
Fionnán Sheahan

Fionnán Sheahan

Sinn Féin has been rocked by the resignation of a councillor who accused the party of "nepotism and misogyny".

The former party representative will now become an Independent after characterising the local party organisation as "jobs for the boys".

The resignation is just the latest by a Sinn Féin female politician as it comes just months after a sitting TD stood down saying efforts to "undermine and malign" her made her job impossible.

Poll-topping Tyrone councillor Sorcha McAnespy will now run in next month's Northern Ireland Assembly elections as an Independent.

The mother of three claimed she was being "undermined" and "marginalised" within the party.

Ms McAnespy (36) said she did raise concerns with the party hierarchy but did not get adequate support.

"There's too much nepotism and misogyny present in the party locally. It's jobs for the boys. It is not open and transparent.

"Sinn Féin needs to support their elected representatives. They need to find mechanisms to support people who feel this way," she told 'The Irish News'.

"I just felt you were being restricted whatever way you went. It wasn't nice.

"I was hoping things would get better. I was hoping that I would be able to find another way around this."

Former Cork East TD Sandra McLellan described a "vicious" campaign in the party.

"I wanted to go for another five years because I felt I had much more to give and polling suggested I had a very good chance of being re-elected. I am now unemployed. So why would anyone who loves their job so much give it up voluntarily? Efforts to undermine me were particularly vicious and I had a decision to make regarding my family. When it affects the people you love and your close supporters so much, it's time to say enough is enough," she told the 'Evening Echo'.

Ms McLellan decided not to stand again after being "consistently and persistently undermined" by a number of Sinn Féin members locally.

A Sinn Féin spokesman said: "We are disappointed at Sorcha McAnespy's decision to leave Sinn Féin. We thank her for her service.

"Sinn Féin's team of candidates for West Tyrone in the upcoming assembly election were selected by the delegates of the party at an open and democratic selection convention."

Irish Independent

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