Sinn Féin senator quits in fresh bullying row
The Sinn Féin crisis over bullying allegations claimed its most high-profile loss yesterday, as Galway senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh quit the party.
Mr Ó Clochartaigh, a senator for the past seven years and a Dáil hopeful, is the first Oireachtas member to quit the party after a series of bullying rows in various parts of the country. He accused the party leadership of ignoring the misconduct of local rival Sinn Féin members, even taking sides with them, and stressed he had done all he could to stay within the party.
"Up to 3pm today I was still trying to resolve this and my heart is broken from it," he told Raidió na Gaeltachta, adding that he had worked tirelessly over the last seven years, locally and nationally.
Senator Ó Clochartaigh, clearly upset by the turn of events, said he found Sinn Féin's disciplinary procedures completely inadequate. He further alleged that a party selection convention, due to be held for Galway West next Sunday, was "biased" against him and structured to ensure he was not endorsed as a Dáil candidate.
The Connemara-based senator said the difficulties went back four to five years, with up to eight local activists spreading false and malicious rumours against him and people who support and work for him.
He said an investigation commissioned by the party's national executive was unsatisfactory, producing no written report and relying on an oral account.
Sinn Féin Donegal TD Pearse Doherty utterly rejected the senator's version of events. He said allegations had been investigated and recommendations agreed.
He insisted that senator Ó Clochartaigh was leaving because the party had rejected his request to stand two Dáil candidates, and the local party will now choose a candidate in open convention.