Election Agents

What IS it about Sinn Féin election workers and agents ? One of the Colombia three was a SF election worker. Aengus O’Snodaigh’s election agent has been jailed. “Last year, Sinn Fein TD Sean Crowe’s election agent was abducted in Dublin and taken to South Armagh where he was tortured, tried by the Provisional IRA and shot in both ankles, for what was described as “freelance fundraising”.” And now another one has been remanded in custody.Mind you – according to his brief the tapes and recordings don’t prove that the alleged offences were carried out on “behalf of the IRA”.
Risky statement that – free-lancing is dangerous, ask Sean Crowe’s election agent mentioned above, the brief might have made things worse rather than better for Dickie …..

From earlier in the year, Irish News report

A man charged with IRA membership and blackmail at Belfast Magistrates Court yesterday was a Sinn Fein election agent. Richard Ronan O’Donnell (55), of Old Course Road in Downpatrick, was charged with membership of the IRA between September 15 and October 14.

He was also charged with demanding money with menaces, namely £100,000 from ‘Witness A’ – on the same dates.

The court heard that when the charges were put to Mr O’Donnell, he replied: “Not guilty”.

The builder, who is known locally as ‘Dickie’, helped Downpatrick councillor Eamonn McConvey to win a seat on Down District Council in the last local authority election three years ago.

He was also appointed as Mr McConvey’s election agent in his unsuccessful bid for an assembly seat last November.

Speaking last night, Mr McConvey described the accused as a friend.

“Dickie O’Donnell is a well-known and well-respected republican,” he said.

“He is an ex-prisoner, which he has not tried to hide at all – and I believe the truth will come out about these fabricated charges.

“Dickie worked with me on the assembly elections and local government elections and he is a solid Sinn Fein supporter.

“Republicans are against extortion and it is not in Dickie’s nature to do anything like this. This is clearly yet another attempt by securocrats to discredit republicans,” he added.

Reacting to the court appearance, Sinn Fein assembly member for south Down Willie Clarke condemned any “individual or organisation” involved in extortion.

“Sinn Fein have been on the record on many occasions in speaking out against intimidation and extortion,” he said.

“We have been active over many years in south Down and elsewhere in helping members of the business community and others who have fallen victim to this sort of activity.”