Saturday 18 November 2017

Sinn Fein activists divided by Andrews defection

Chris Andrews
Chris Andrews

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

SINN Fein leaders face an uphill struggle selling their latest recruit – ex-Fianna Fail TD Chris Andrews – to sceptical party activists.

A meeting of local Sinn Fein members in Dublin South-East, Mr Andrews' constituency, took place last Friday, just hours before he was admitted to the party.

Mr Andrews (pictured below) was not at the meeting in Ringsend Community Centre, which took place the evening before his membership was rubber-stamped by the party's national executive, the Ard Chomhairle, on Saturday.

Senior Sinn Fein figures are telling local members Mr Andrews can bring in more cash for next year's local election campaign.

However, sources in the party are anxious Mr Andrews may bring some of his former Fianna Fail supporters with him to Sinn Fein, sparking tensions and a power struggle in the local organisation.

Mr Andrews' knowledge of local issues and his campaigning for Palestine are also being used to sell his move to Sinn Fein.

VALUES

But those on the hard left of the local party organisation are said to be against the move because they fear he will bring a lot of his supporters from Fianna Fail with him.

Mr Andrews, a grandson of Fianna Fail founder Todd Andrews, released a statement after his move was confirmed in which he said his former party "no longer represented the ideals or values of its founders including my grandfather".

Mr Andrews' defection came after he was unmasked as the person behind a fake Twitter account used to criticise Micheal Martin and other members of the party.

And his former Fianna Fail colleagues were upset by the comments he made on joining Sinn Fein.

Jim O'Callaghan, a Fianna Fail councillor in Dublin South-East, said: "Chris is entitled to join another political party but his comments about Fianna Fail are inaccurate and self-serving," Mr O'Callaghan said.

"Fianna Fail has three excellent representatives in Maria Bohan, Frank Kennedy and John Hanafin who, along with myself, are all working hard in the area for the people."

Mr Andrews did not return calls from this newspaper.

Irish Independent

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