Sinn Féin official calls on Adams to quit as leader
Sinn Féin has rounded on a branch chairperson who broke ranks and called for the party's president Gerry Adams to step down as leader.
Thomas Anthony McNulty, who heads up the Virginia Mullagh branch in Cavan, claimed at the weekend that Mr Adams was hindering the party's expansion in the Republic.
The call for the Louth TD to step down took senior party figures by surprise and last night they insisted that Mr McNulty was in a minority.
Two opinion polls yesterday showed a drop in support for Sinn Féin.
But the party also moved to fend off any criticism of Mr Adams, who has said that all issues, including his leadership, will be discussed internally.
One senior strategist labelled Mr McNulty, who served a prison term for IRA membership, a "lone wolf".
"(We are) not sure what he's at," the source added.
But pointedly, the party's TD for Cavan/Monaghan, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, said he did not what to comment on Mr McNulty's criticism when contacted by the Irish Independent.
"I haven't spoken to him. I don't know if he was speaking on behalf of himself or others. It wouldn't be appropriate for me to comment at this particular point in time," Mr Ó Caoláin added.
Others within the party fold launched a strong defence of Mr Adams, who said on Saturday that he would not be repeating what Enda Kenny did and suggesting when he would be stepping down as leader.
The party's director of elections, Matt Carthy, said Mr McNulty's view was not shared among the wider Sinn Féin membership.
"There is no call among the wider membership for Gerry to go quickly," the Midlands-North-West MEP said.