That’s what Chris Thornton reckoned last week. Adding two women candidates now withdrawn to the original seven means (by implication) that nine party members were present and are currently on suspension as a result:
Deirdre Hargey and Cora Groogan were not included in the party’s final list of council candidates because “anyone suspended cannot stand as a candidate”. Those two were not among the seven people initially suspended by the party on March 3.
Ms Hargey spoke at the party’s ard fheis on March 5, two days after the suspensions were announced. Sinn Fein had intended to run her as a council candidate in South Belfast, while Ms Groogan was reportedly set to run in Castlereagh. The names of the two women were not in a list of seven party members in the bar passed to Sinn Fein by the McCartney family.
Catherine McCartney has subsequently asked:
Is it 10 or even 20? We still don’t know and Sinn Fein appears reluctant to present the full facts. We were told before the party’s Ard Fheis that seven party members were suspended, then we learned that two or three more were also in the bar when Robert was first attacked. We have since heard that some party members were expelled or have resigned but we can’t find out from Mr Adams’s office who these people are and what exactly has happened.