Monday 20 November 2017

Sinn Féin temporarily overturns decision to expel Kieran McCarthy

Cork councillor Kieran McCarthy
Cork councillor Kieran McCarthy
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

Sinn Fein has invited a councillor it expelled to assist a party review into the controversies within its Cork East organisation.

The move came as SF temporarily reversed a decision to expel Councillor Kieran McCarthy.

The party also acceded to a submission that Councillor Melissa Mullane should be granted additional time to appeal a decision to suspend her membership for a year.

The SF move followed a meeting of its Ard Comhairle to discuss the issues surrounding the two Cobh and Mallow based politicians.

It is understood that the decision followed contact between the party and a solicitor representing Councillor McCarthy.

The decision is regarded as an attempt to defuse the bitter row that erupted within the party’s Cork organisation following the shock decision last month to expel Councillor McCarthy and suspend Councillor Mullane’s membership.

A formal response from the two councillors is now awaited by SF. Councillor McCarthy’s shock expulsion triggered a wave of reported resignations within the party’s Cork East organisation.

While SF disputed the numbers involved, up to 70 members indicated they were going to resign in Cobh, Fermoy and Mallow over the controversial disciplinary actions.

The expulsion and suspension followed a lengthy investigation into complaints lodged about issues within the Cork East organisation.

That probe was headed by Cork North Central TD Jonathan O’Brien.A key element of the problem was a reported rift between the sitting Cork East TD Sandra McLellan and Councillor McCarthy, a veteran Cobh-based politician.

It is understood that, under the new proposal from SF, both councillors will be given 21 days to make submissions.

Under the now reversed disciplinary action, both councillors had been expected by SF to resign their Cork Co Council seats.

SF had planned to co-opt new members onto the vacated seats.

However, Councillor McCarthy dismissed the notion as “laughable and ridiculous.”He confirmed he is now considering contesting the next general election as an independent.

The Cobh official is expected to make a formal response to the latest SF proposal later today.

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