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Cllr Christy Burke: What's really rotten at the heart of Sinn Féin

Sinn Fein's problems stem from senior personnel in the party not listening to councillors on the ground.

It's as simple as that.

It's a problem for all parties when there is a disconnect, when the people who are making policies aren't in touch with the grassroots.

I have to say, I hold the Sinn Fein councillors that are left in high regard. They are hard working and they do their best.

To see the group shrink from 10 councillors when I was group leader to four now is sad.

It's a sad day for Sinn Fein at city council level.

The party is at a low point and the only way is up for them.

The vote on the Dublin City Council budget in December highlighted the problems.

Unelected people structured the vote in a particular way, even though the majority of councillors saw the logic of voting in favour of the budget estimates.

The waste management order imposing the charges is a ministerial order and there is nothing more me or you can do about it.

My advice to Sinn Fein is that they should investigate the people calling for sanctions on councillors.

After all, the councillors are only doing a job for their community.

Something is wrong when the party starts targeting public representatives and insulting people's intelligence by telling councillors which way to vote.

I look at it this way: it's my name on the poster, I knock at the doors, I've lived and worked in the area for years, I know the issues and I know what I believe is in the best interests of voters.

I don't know who is calling the shots in the Dublin branch of Sinn Fein.

I don't know if it is two or three individuals or if it is one person with influence.

During my time, if an instruction came out to vote against the estimates I'd go and argue the point.

I used to say that you will never be a player on the council if you don't go with reality.

My argument was that Monaghan voted for the estimates, Sligo voted for the estimates, Tralee voted for the estimates, Leitrim voted for the estimates, Waterford voted for the estimates.

What's the deal with Dublin?

I felt that if you became a player with the other parties, there was a possibility that Sinn Fein would have got a mayoralty, which would have been widely important.

I have always maintained that and I still maintain it.

The groups who are in charge on the council like Labour have other groups co-operating and supporting them in all areas, whether it is for the estimates or the development plan or whatever.

It's obvious there is going to be an agreement for the mayoralty among parties.

Therefore, Sinn Fein is shooting itself in the foot.

At the end of the day, I'm opposed to bin charges as much as anybody.

But when the manager signs a ministerial order, you can't do anything about it.

If you voted against the estimates in December, you'd have been voting against funding for swimming pools in Coolock, Crumlin and Sean McDermott Street.

Charge

Sinn Fein led the charge to keep the pools open so it was a complete contradiction.

What do they want to do?

Do they want to bring down the city council or do they want to be responsible and run the city council?

A mayoralty would have been one of the greatest heights to reach for a Sinn Fein councillor.

It would boost the party and show the citizens they are serious and they want to run the city in the best way.

Politically, it would be a great achievement. It would be a historic event. In order to achieve and gain that, you have to take responsibility.

Christy Burke left Sinn Féin shortly after the last election and is now an independent councillor


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