SF targets Labour councillors after defection coup
Sinn Fein has approached several former Labour councillors and one senator to join the party after the publicity coup surrounding the recruitment of former Fianna Fail TD, Chris Andrews.
Since Labour entered Government, 19 councillors have resigned or lost the party whip, as has Senator James Heffernan from Limerick, who won 7,910 first preference votes in the 2011 election.
Mr Heffernan has not been receptive to the Sinn Fein advances, but several Labour councillors are understood to be considering joining.
The Sunday Independent has also learnt from sources within the Dublin Bay South constituency that moves to recruit Mr Andrews first emerged three months ago.
Mr Andrew's disaffection with Fianna Fail dates back to the appointment of Jim O'Callaghan, who was not a TD, to the party's 2011 election frontbench.
Sinn Fein formally announced that Mr Andrews has joined the party in a statement yesterday afternoon. Party whip Aengus O Snodaigh TD said: "I am pleased to welcome Chris Andrews to Sinn Fein. I have known Chris for a long time and regard him a person genuinely committed to building a better country for all our citizens."
Mr Andrews added: "The problems that Ireland faces require a major political and economic change. I do not believe that such change can be delivered through Fianna Fail, Fine Gael or Labour. Nor can it be delivered by 'independents'.
"Joining a new party was not an easy decision for me as my family has been involved in Fianna Fail since its foundations," he said. His father, Niall, was an MEP, his uncle, David, a former minister for foreign affairs.
To date, Mr Andrews's most high-profile political event was revealed in the Sunday Independent associated with his creation of a phantom Twitter account last year, which criticised FF leader Micheal Martin and other senior figures.