SINN Fein has been plunged into turmoil as a second wave of mass resignations is expected in the party.
The Irish Independent understands over 30 Sinn Fein members in Cobh, Co Cork, were last planning to resign over the controversy surrounding the disciplining of two party councillors.
Earlier, it emerged that Sinn Fein received a letter from its Fermoy branch stating that 15 members had resigned in protest over the expulsion of Councillor Kieran McCarthy and the suspension of Councillor Melissa Mullane. Both sanctions were handed down after an internal party review.
However, a senior Sinn Féin source last night said the party was told that five of the 15 individuals were not official members. The source added four of the individuals who apparently resigned from the Fermoy branch were not present at Tuesday's meeting and want to remain members.
Meanwhile, sources said the party is braced for further resignations as its Cork operation is plunged into turmoil. The party branch in Cobh met last night and it was expected a second wave of resignations will follow.
A separate meeting is due to be held in Mallow today, during which delegates will debate the sanctions handed down to the two councillors.
The senior party source said all such mentions are unofficial because the officer boards in Sinn Féin in Cork East have been stood down. "We will do all we can to ensure as many members remain members," the source said.
Fermoy's Sinn Féin organisation said the two councillors were hugely respected within the local party. "We can, therefore, not stand idly by while what we view as a seriously unjust and undemocratic act is carried out in our name," it warned.
One member said they were "absolutely appalled" by the disciplinary action taken by the Ard Comhairle. Cllr McCarthy said he has refused to relinquish his seat on Cork County Council.