Monday 19 March 2018

Sinn Féin TD denies party has bullying problem

Aengus Ó Snodaigh
Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Joyce Fegan and Niall O'Connor

Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh has insisted bullying is not a problem within his party.

Mr Ó Snodaigh said that the party had put in a "robust mechanism" to deal with allegations of bullying and other grievances expressed by members.

The Dublin South Central TD was responding to claims made by former councillor Jonathan Dowdall, who quit the party and gave up his Dublin City Council seat after allegedly being bullied.

Mr Dowdall was a councillor in the north inner city, which is also represented by Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald.

His claims of bullying came on the back of controversy in the Cork East constituency involving a number of councillors and sitting TD Sandra McLellan.

The party expelled councillor Kieran McCarthy and suspended councillor Melissa Mullane for 12 months following an internal party review.

As reported last week, tensions existed between both councillors and Ms McLellan.

But in a further headache for the party, Mr Dowdall went public with his claims he was subjected to bullying.

"Bullying is allowed to go on in certain parts of Sinn Féin," the father-of-four said.

"There were numerous attacks on myself from a certain element within Sinn Féin, and there were attacks on my team members."

Mr Dowdall has now joined Independent councillor Christy Burke's general election team.

He first said he was leaving Sinn Féin last September for health reasons before later agreeing to stay on. He finally quit the party and the city council in February.

Asked about Mr Dowdall's claims yesterday, Mr Ó Snodaigh (left) said any allegation of bullying would be looked at by the party.

"No, I don't believe there is any problem with bullying in the party. I think Sinn Féin has put in place a robust mechanism to investigate any complaint, whether it is bullying or otherwise," he said.

"And, what happened in Cork, a investigation was put in place, quite robust, they looked at the issue. One councillor was expelled as a result and another suspended. And I think that shows the party is willing to take action against people who complaints are made against."

Irish Independent

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