Local unhappiness at party’s treatment of McKay leads to 18 resignations…

Worth noting that this morning some in Sinn Fein in North Antrim were unhappy enough with the way Daithi McKay has been treated by his party that they resigned. The BBC report references a statement given to the Ballymena Guardian

Those who have resigned told the Ballymena Guardian it was “inconceivable” that they could remain in light of the way they believe Mr McKay was treated.

They also criticised what they called the “anointing” of his successor without, they claim, any meaningful consultation.

And…

One of the 18 to resign, Monica Digney, told the BBC that it was “not a decision we took lightly”.

“I have been a republican all my life,” the former councillor said. “I will die a republican. But, I don’t have to be a Sinn Féin republican.

“Because, what has happened recently is there seems to be some people who get protected and other people are left hung out to dry and Daithí McKay, unfortunately, is one of those that was left hung out to dry.”

The Finance Minister’s use of the word “subterfuge” won’t have helped local humours amongst activists who perhaps don’t quite see it that way. But then, as someone once said, when it becomes serious… 

Adds:

, , ,

  • chrisjones2

    What a wonderful outbreak of moral indignation in North Antrim SF ….. or do I mean immoral indignation its hard to tell. I suspect it depends upon perspective

  • Brian Walker

    Becoming more like a political party with more or less open rows! Whatever next?

  • Kevin Breslin

    It doesn’t stop their rivals in Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.

  • Jollyraj

    So are those resigning saying that McKay has been sacrificed to protect the Finance Minister, or someone else? It isn’t quite clear to me.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Now it suddenly dawns on me regarding the Jamie Boy Hair Do ! He was trying to be the Indian Geronimo all the time ! He is certainly equal with him regarding the political “Scalps” he has taken ?

  • Thomas Barber

    I suppose not as disgusted and surprised as his fellow comrades within
    Sinn Fein and the wider republican support base who are at odds trying
    to understand just why McKay or other members of Sinn Fein would even
    give Jamie Bryson the time of day or trust him for a second, after all,
    like all good loyalists he’s loyal to the Crown and its servants and he
    no doubt is one. However great diversion from unionism and in true British fashion the
    real criminals evade justice while the sacrificial lambs are
    slaughtered to placate the false prophets of justice. The NAMA
    scandal will be brushed under the carpet and join the Collusion, Kincora, Bloody Sunday etc etc etc elephants until such times as everyone is dead.

  • Jag

    “there seems to be some people who get protected and other people are left hung out to dry”

    What is meant by that? Is the ex-SF ex-councillor saying, in the context of the NAMA coaching scandal, that “some people get protected”, or is she talking about political controversies generally? If the former, then that’s explosive and begs the question who is being protected in this scandal. Could someone ask her.

    It’s one thing for SF’s traditional rivals, the DUP, UUP and TUV, and on the nationalist side the SDLP, to express doubts that Daithi McKay was a lone wolf. If SF activists and elected representatives are saying it though….

  • Jag

    While it’s a dramatic incident for such a large number of party members to resign at once, it’s not a record; around 70 members in Cork resigned last year over local disputes with selecting the SF candidates for the 2016 general election. As SF grows, such disputes are inevitable, and not unusual in traditional political parties.

  • Jag

    What was the story with north Antrim in the recent Assembly elections. In the immediately previous elections, Daithi gained the 2nd biggest share of first preferences but this had dropped to 5th this time around. He seemed an effective chair of the finance committee and he had a history whilst heading up a ministry in delivering. What happened at the polls for Daithi in 2016?

  • Croiteir

    Thought Monica resigned years ago?

  • Croiteir

    Rasharkin

  • Jag

    Doubt it. Rasharkin has been a source of animosity for a decade. And if it was because of Daithi’s opposition to that parade, then his vote would have been displaced to SDLP, but SDLP vote was also down this time round.

  • Croiteir

    No – it was his handing of it – I will not say what I have been told as it is second hand and unprovable but the local people I know were not a bit happy

  • Ciaran74

    Evolution is a touchy subject in those there hills…..

  • Jollyraj

    Are you borrowing the SF-approved Brysonian ‘person A’ technique with that comment?

    Or just looking to muddy the waters around McKay’s name without needing, or having, something specific with which to do it?

  • Jollyraj

    Which of the previous scandals did you think she’d resigned over?

  • Granni Trixie

    But you (deliberately?) fail to nail the point – the public expect better of someone on or chairing a scrutiny committee. Look, Even people sitting on voluntary or charitable boards know they must demonstrate impartiality. It’s as if this Stormont committee gave the fingers to the Nolan Principles.

  • Granni Trixie

    I disagree. Such disputes are avoided in parties with a system in place which recognises the wishes of local level activists in selecting candidates ie they are not selected from the top.

    That said, there is a price to be paid as from the top they are likely to select strategically whereas locally they tend to consider a variety of factors – such as who they ‘like’ – which sometimes ends up not in the best nterests of the party. Nevertheless, I think it is a price worth paying in the long run. You can’t claim to be a modern democratically run party and make key decisions for the top.

  • Croiteir

    Why would I? – I have no dog in the fight. You attribute me with more consequence than I could possibly have.

  • Thomas Barber

    Grannie the public expected answers to who was going to benefit financially from the seven million pounds that was secreted away in an offshore bank account. There is no suggestion McKay or anyone else connected to Sinn Fein either told Bryson to tell untruths or make untrue allegations against anyone. This diversion however bizarrely brought about has ensured the public will not get those answers that is the real tragedy here.

  • austin mcclafferty

    The sanitation process rides a battled hardened charger, a brisk wind is its wake, the cult shrinks in the face of it. When poison trickles from the top down, ingested to its own roots, then logic would suggest ignominious legacy awaits themselves alone. When the filters are finished filtering, a world will have moved on. Who are you again?. Oh very definitely the master of verbal hand shadows. One has made it to the top of the world ma, thing is, the price to be paid for getting there cost others in blood,heart,soul and mind. Ditching of such things as grassroots, principles, any direction that is not pulled by the tide of opportunism. Code for failure could lead to echo.

  • Jollyraj

    Au contraire – I don’t attribute you with much consequence at all – I merely questioned why you were saying what you said.

  • Granni Trixie

    I could not agree with you more. I had no problem with Bryson being allowed to give evidence (as some did) t see if he could help reveal ‘what happened to the money’

    That is beside the point namely that a chair or committee member ought not to interfere with someone coming before them. Two wrongs and all that.

    I am sure there was a regular way for some official to pass on to Bryson knowledge so that he was not disadvantaged at the hearing.

  • babyface finlayson

    Granni
    Don’t all the parties have similar selection processes?
    Either candidates are put forward by the constituency members and final selection takes place by the executive (SF) or vice versa (Alliance Party).
    I suppose with co-opting that process does not take place. Personally I would rather see a by-election.

  • Granni Trixie

    I do not know much about current systems Of selection in other parties but in APNI candidates for co-option are selected by local associations, not imposed from the top. Similarly, LA chose reps to be candidates in regular elections. There is however a central list of “approved candidates” . Though I can see that this may be viewed as a crucial step in selection in practice I have only known of one…or possibly two applicants not going on the list.

    In the past Alliance was much more top down policy/decision making but nowadays this simply would not satisfy modern activists who buy into democratic values. As mentioned previously such a system can lead to not the best outcomes from a strategic POV. A price worth paying.

  • Brian Walker

    Fairly enough much is being made of how the McKay affair is exposing the odd crack in the politburo-style, democratic centralism of Sinn Fein, which since the GFA has been very successful in burying party controversies. The party style stems from the Irish tradition of secrecy and conspiracy for a revolutionary purpose, and it also draws inspiration from Marxist norms. When assessing the damage of the McKay affair, it’s worth remembering that the CPSU from Lenin to Brezhnev suffered from splits and purges, a lot of them engineered from the top but not all;. The Chinese CP likewise. Even the north Koreans are not exempt. I see the Great Leader is now in favour of executing dissidents by anti aircraft guns. Interested anyone?

    Seriously though, if Sinn Fein can’t ride out a stunt like this, they really are in trouble. The irony is that the business of normal government exposes altogether different strains, like competence in office. It was quite a feat for SF to create controversy over a Gaelic sport stadium in west Belfast. In the nature of things there will be more of these. The Americans call it normalcy.

  • Tochais Siorai

    He made sure Ruth Patterson didn’t make it to Stormont anyway.

  • Skibo

    Or was it just how the new MLA was chosen?

  • Jonah

    Don’t know much about the situation in North Antrim but worth noting that despite the claim that 70 members resigned in East Cork (SF Head Office said it was a lot less, presumably supporters who honestly thought they were members) Sinn Féin retained that seat.

    Their share of the vote went down from 11.05 per cent to 10.15 per cent and the candidate, Pat Buckley, polled almost four times the chap who went Independent.

    No party wants to lose members or activists, but it’s survivable.

  • Jollyraj

    Whether or not they have doubts about the calibre/competence of the new man, I’ve no idea.

    But certainly the statement that there are” some people who get protected and other people are left hung out to dry and Daithí McKay, unfortunately, is one of those that was left hung out to dry.” suggests the issue is with their suspicion that DM was scapegoated to protect guilty superiors, rather than anything to do with his replacement.

  • chrisjones2

    “Don’t all the parties have similar selection processes? ”

    Yeah …it is who you are mates with / related to

  • chrisjones2

    Can’t be evolution ….dinosaurs never existed – we are told – and the rock form ations were created by the Good Lord / A Giant , not an ice sheet

  • Skibo

    Supposition and conjecture have no place in justice but I suppose it keeps the gossip mongers going.
    I think this subject has run its course. I believe at some stage Daithi will reappear and all will be forgotten.

  • Jollyraj

    He may reappear, but I imagine the questions will also reappear. Sinn Fein sooner or later need to realize that you can’t simply go ‘on the run’ for a while, then turn up again and expect all to be forgiven. People simply aren’t that stupid.

  • Croiteir

    Just trying to give an answer to the question, no more

  • Croiteir

    Policing

  • Jollyraj

    What made you think she’d resigned over policing? And which ‘scandal’ are you referring to?

  • Jag

    Survivable of course, but nationally, SF’s vote went from 10% to 14% between 2011 and 2016. You might have expected the Cork East vote to top 15% in 2016, but it was down at 10%. The local difficulty didn’t help SF.

  • Skibo

    If Nelson McCausland can still dander round the corridors of power after RedSky there should be no problem for Daithi or are Unionist politicians mere forgivable?

  • Croiteir

    as I said policing

  • Jollyraj

    Yes, and I asked you what was it about policing that you thought she’d resigned over.

    If you simply repeat ‘policing’, are we to assume you mean you thought she resigned because she doesn’t think there should be policing, or what?

  • Croiteir

    just policing – don’t know whether she did or not, don’t know what it woud have been about, just asking.

  • Thomas Barber