“…no longer share the belief…”

The Irish News reports Dungannon SF councillor, Barry Montheith has resigned from the party (subs reqd). He stated:

“This is due to an increased disillusionment with current Sinn Fein strategy. I no longer share the belief that this strategy will lead to Irish Unification….It is not just solely about policing. I am disillusioned with the current political strategy…”

He represents Dungannon Town DEA and intends to keep his council seat. Montieth was once SF’s youngest councillor and served a number of terms as Mayor. Michelle Gildernew said the resignation was not a surprise and challenged him to resign his seat to enable the co-option of a SF councillor.

  • Maybe Unification isn’t all its cracked up to be…

    i mean in this day and age would it be such a big catch?

    I hate the road signs down their too – bit too euro-ey for me… and there are tons of them too – every bend has like six signs encouraging you to take the corner…. strange…

  • down ‘there’!! sorry

  • dublinsfsupporter

    All parties from time to time have councillors who resign.

    Often the stated reason is idealistic, while sometimes the real reason is actually a failure to make career advancement within a party that draws in such a large pool of talented and enthusiastic people. Most people will be asking: Barry who?

    There is, obviously, a role for everyone. But in all of the work in which Sinn Féin is engaged, nobody is on an automatic escalator to advanced positions of responsibility within the party.

  • Bigger Picture

    dublin sf supporter

    quit the Barry bashing! The problem is you live in Dublin and therefore believe that soon your brave comrades from the North will be joining you. However the fact is that they are tied in knots in a system that means the will be servants of the British Crown for years to come.

    Any truth in the rumours that Barry is joining a unionist party?

  • Rory

    Thank you, dublinsfsupporter, for that trenchant, detailed analysis of trends in political resignations which no doubt you have a bucket-load of data to support.

    You conclude that while the stated reason for resignation is often idealistic, in reality it is often caused by frustration at lack of career progress. Very good.

    Now can you tell us please how this might reflect upon Councillor Montheith’s resignation? Are we meant to conclude that he was lying when he stated his reasons which had more to do with his frustration at the lack of progress Sinn Féin was making towards its central aim of unification?

    We could of course accuse him of political naivety but then that might reflect back on a party which attracts politically naive young people in the first place and propels them into elected office.

  • Conquistador

    Barry who?

  • Where Next?

    The interesting thing here is that Barry Monteith’s resignation follows the resignations of quite a number of long-standing and well-respected Republican activists from the east Tyrone area earlier this year. However, the media appear to be unaware of those earlier resignations and the SF organisation has been quite content that those resignations attracted no publicity, particularly given that some of those personalities were very well-known.

    I’m just surprised that he didn’t resign earlier as his disenchantment with SF policy has been well-known for some time.

    I imagine that this drift of good, hard-working personnel away from SF is going to continue albeit on a gradual basis. The real impact, however, is going to be at the grass-roots active supporter level, which SF is dependent upon at elections, as each resignation usually leads to the “local team” of such people also deciding to throw in the towel.

  • hotdogx

    a wile melee,
    Dont worry you’ll get used to the km/h very quickly and is much easier to work with and makes much more sense than the out-dated imperial system that nobody else uses except the British and the Americans. I like the fact that they put too many rather than too few signs, but if i ever came off me bike I’d have a better chance of hitting one! Dont forget re-unification could mean we finally can change to right side driving in line with most of the world. That would be more difficult to get used to! I find roads in the republic much safer than in the north it was the opposite about 20 years ago, how things have changed.

    Regarding this thread, i find that Sinn Fein is bleeding its members due to dismal assembly performance, and this is a very worrying trend for unionists who wish to work the assembly and pro agreement nationalists. More and more nationalists feel that the unionists are still dominating the assembly and are blocking every Irish agenda even those that pose no threat to them such as the Irish language act. When the census can prove that the 10% of NI can speak or have some knowledge of Irish then it is a blatant show of sectarianism that this act was not allowed to pass. However bringing down the assembly is not the answer either i think both governments need to step in from time to time as mediators. Unionists have to understand that NI is not Finchley as one very stupid person once said it was, and unionists make up only half the population of NI. Unionism is beginning to understand that without the troubles they are no longer capable of justifying their poor behavior and the British are wising up to that fact.

  • RepublicanStones

    He is well liked round Dungannon, though one wonders what the straw was, as the Shins have been slow for some time.

  • “When the census can prove that the 10% of NI can speak or have some knowledge of Irish”

    On a point of information, the census proves nothing. It’s based solely on what people claim.

    No mention from Barry on what strategy he thinks would deliver Irish unification (if any). Back to the bomb and the bullet?

  • “That would be more difficult to get used to!”

    when i was in Italy i found the driving fine – that is largely down to driving a left hand drive car though.. the transition was smooth…

    back here that would be a lot of cars to sell/replace with lhd and who would buy them? Think of the carbon footprint of replacing every rhd car with a lhd car!!!

    its hard to get an argument for reunification isn’t it… lol 🙂

  • Bigger Picture

    In fact I would like to indulge in a bit of Barry bashing, why has this scoundrel not got his tie done properly?! disgraceful

  • Garibaldy

    The SDLP thrived electorally for decades without a serious party machine. No reason for PSF not to do the same, even though they are a very long way away from having that problem.

  • lorraine

    poor gerry; since his dismal performance in the southern election last year and his balls-up of negotiating the triple lock mechanism which allows the dup to run rings round him, he hasn’t been a very inspirational person.

  • Conquistador

    When the census can prove that the 10% of NI can speak or have some knowledge of Irish

    I once read Dominic Bradley’s website and learned the words Dia duit, am I one of this 10%.

    Perhaps I should form a pressure group called “Irish speakers against the Irish Language Act”

  • dublinsfsupporter

    “poor gerry; since his dismal performance in the southern election last year and his balls-up of negotiating the triple lock mechanism which allows the dup to run rings round him, he hasn’t been a very inspirational person. ”

    Gerry’s position is secure. The Lisbon strategy has given the party a real boost in the 26 counties and the strategy of using Mary Lou McDonald in 26 county campaigns is paying handsome dividends. Expect her high and strong profile to win Sinn Féin a Euro MEP seat for Dublin in 2009. It’s all about opposing the European Union.

  • Where Next?

    “using Mary Lou McDonald in 26 county campaigns is paying handsome dividends. Expect her high and strong profile to win Sinn Féin a Euro MEP seat for Dublin in 2009.”

    Should that not be retaining her seat, dsfs?

    Although its unfair to try and claim credit for the NO vote as a victory for the ‘Lisbon strategy’ as there were a myriad of reasons why people rejected Lisbon. Even the majority of Labour voters against it, something which that party’s leadership will have to come to terms with if it too expects to make advances.

  • dublinsfsupporter

    Where Next? I would describe a retention as a win, moreso, given that we will be in a context where the number of Euro seats in Dublin is being reduced from 4 to 3, and Sinn Féin will have to win against a party that currently has a seat.

    Sinn Féin was the only major party to support a NO vote in the 26 counties and this has emeerged as something about Sinn Féin that sets it apart from all other major parties. It’s all about opposing the EU.

  • Garibaldy

    But PSF policy is not to oppose the EU. Nor even the Treaty. Which they wanted renegotiated and not scrapped.

  • dublinsfsupporter

    Garibaldy, yes, renegotiation.

  • dunreavynomore

    S.F,s strategy appears to be ‘sowing confusion wheneve possible’, so it is no wonder Barry is disillusioned.
    In todays Irish News councillor B Curran who is also chairman of the Newry and Mourne D.P.P.(which he has presented as being an important and powerful position) describes the recent arrests in the Paul Quinn murder case as “heavy handed” and “politically motivated”. He goes on to say that “There has been an unparalled level of support for the investigation into Paul Quinn’s murder.”
    Then he tells us that the “community” believe the arrests are as a resut of finger pointing rather than police work by the Gardai.(despite their ‘unparralled’ support)
    Therefore, according to Brendan, the police forces he and his party support are rotten to the core, arrest people just to embarrass Sinn Fein, arrest on innuendo and “finger pointing” and so on. Perhaps some shinner , maybe the Dublin person will explain this, should we support these rotten forces or not, if not haven’t S.F. got it badly wrong?

  • Valenciano

    “Any truth in the rumours that Barry is joining a unionist party?”

    Doubtful considering he’s just resigned from a Unionist party 🙂

  • dublinsfsupporter

    dunreavynomore: Sinn Féin support the police investigation, but obviously this does not mean that Sinn Féin cannot hold the police to account, or criticise aspects of police performance; it should be remembered that Sinn Féin joined the policing board preciecly to carry out the important job of holding policing to account.

  • Napoleons nose.

    Why did he stay for so long. A blind man could see that sf’s current position will never lead to a UI. How could someone who studied politics not have realised that from the beginnig?

  • Rooster Cogburn

    Are SF really so desparate that they’re claiming the No vote as *their* achievement? As opposed to the achievement of an, in essence, smooth-talking British millionaire, gifted a win by Bertie’s terminal, toxic reverse-Midas touch?

  • dunreavynomore

    Indeed, any party should attempt to hold the police force to account but if this is the case then S.F. have failed most dismally. Here we have a case where co-operation with the Gardai has indeed been unprecedented for this border region yet, according to Curran, all the Gardai are doing is harrassing shinners.! Come off it!
    Perhaps the annoyance stems from the fact that some of the arrests bear on people very close to the D.P.P. Should S.F. support the investigation if they believe it is politically inspired? This riding of 2 horses, for and against at the same time, is tearing them apart.
    Also in the Irish news is a letter from a Criostoir Sheils, Belfast, backing Mr Adams’ leadership of the biggest “nationalist/republican party.” Nationalist/Republican? Is that an indication of where S. F. have gone? They are indeed more Nationalist than republican nowadays. Anyhow, according to Criostoir Gerry’s main achievement is that he is still leader while others like Blair, Ahern, Paisley are gone! So longevity of tenure is the key, not policy delivery. No wonder the leakage is getting worse.

  • unbelieveable

    barry is a grafter obviously things are not going as well as it seems within the party…. as one person said there have been many resignations over last few years not all publicised due to “unity and cohesion” its sad but a reality it seems to be all about keeping up appearances at the moment and blackening the names of those who have chosen to leave across the island… maybe they should start asking why???? and listen to people instead of labelling comrades.. or ex comrades as many of them now think of us…

  • An Lochlannach

    We must be in serious need of an election when we spend so much time talking about resigning councillors and council by-elections. Seems like ages since the last one. Roll on the Euros.

  • “Any truth in the rumours that Barry is joining a unionist party?”

    Doubtful considering he’s just resigned from a Unionist party 🙂

    Posted by Valenciano on

    Best one of the week so far, by the way judging from the comments of SF members to Coun Montheith’s resignation, I would hate to be a member of SF at a cumann meeting who had to go to the toilet, their ears would burn when they had their wee.

  • Red Diesel Republican

    dublin SF supporter, you are so far from the coal face that you may be innocent of knowledge about the way Provo community control works around here. It is possible to call for support for a police investigation with one hand and let people know the dire consequences of co-operation with the other. The unspoken condition of support is that no Provos should be blamed for anything. “Heavyhanded policing” is code for ‘they’re lifting our lads’. We heard the same term from Alex Maskey after the murder of Robert McCartney when the police lifted some of the customers from Magginness’s Bar in the Markets. We heard it from him again the next morning when rioters held off the PSNI while the famous washing machine finished its spin cycle and bloodstained clothing came out sparkling clean. the outburst from Cllr Curran is not about about holding the police to account, it is about adding to the smokescreen created by Conor Murphy when he said a young lad battered to death by a Provo gang was a criminal. That vicious lie was dutifully repeated by Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness and Arthur Morgan TD. There were up to 15 people in or collaborating with the gang, including the forensic clean-up squad, so what is heavyhanded about 11 arrests?

  • Slieve Gullion

    I see the NIO have asked the IMC to produce an ad hoc report, clarifying its assessment of the completion of the transformation of PIRA. What a simply extraordinary coincidence! Let’s just imagine for the sake of argument that the IMC found the transformation was complete, the Army Council had transmogrified into a sewing circle or darts club or whatever. That would mean the DUP could agree a timetable for devolution of policing and justice without loss of face. Amazing! it’s almost as if they knew beforehand what NIO was going to say.

    Problem is of course that the transformation isn’t complete and the Army Council isn’t even the problem – it doesn’t actually kill or beat people. A lot of us in South Armagh would prefer them to keep the Army Council and abolish South Armagh Command and all its works and pomps. Decommission the hacklers and all allied warlords.

  • bob Wilson

    Re Mary Lou and her Euro seat – my understanding was that dublin is going down from 4 to 3 seats and it is expected by the pundits that FF, FG and Labour will win these

  • lorraine

    Gerry’s position is secure. The Lisbon strategy has given the party a real boost in the 26 counties and the strategy of using Mary Lou McDonald in 26 county campaigns is paying handsome dividends. Expect her high and strong profile to win Sinn Féin a Euro MEP seat for Dublin in 2009. It’s all about opposing the European Union.

    Posted by dublinsfsupporter on Aug 06, 2008 @ 11:40 AM

    gerry’s position is secure in the short term; but as the contradictions of his words and actions become more visible he will run into difficulties. in the south the sinners play the social conscience parrty (left wing); while up here they are a right wing, monetarist bunch of american lap-dogs.
    don’t put too much faith in mary lou, somebody who joins your party because she couldn’t get a fianna fail position is hardly what one could call a committed republican………i look forward to the next election.

  • Mark McGregor

    Best of luck to Barry after what must have been a difficult decision, while I’ve never met him he seems to have a bit of class from his reported comments.

    (In case you read Slugger Barry, Eileen in the Council will be forwarding you a message from me due to your current email issues)


    With Dublin reduced from 4 to 3 European seats the Shinners will be squeezed out and I would take it as a near certainty that Mary Lou McDonald will lose that seat. As someone has already said Sinn Fein’s performance & influence in the Assembly has been very poor. Anything that looks like being a concession or advantage to Nationalists is being stalled or vetoed by Unionists and it’s looking like the old Stormont all over again. The Shinners & SDLP are like the old ineffective Nationalist party of the 20’s & 30’s. Unionists are very much in control of the Executive. Even if Policing & Justice powers are transferred they will be kept away from Nationalists for ever and a day. Unionists will have the first pick of any ministry and this will be theirs. The resignation of this councillor is no surprise; there is very little open free debate or discussion within that party. It is run by an out of touch dictatorial elite who issue orders and directives with NO dissent allowed. They are going to get a real electoral shock one of these days from northern Nationalists.

  • Garibaldy

    Didn’t the SDLP make the argument that P&J;should go to them according to D’Hondt, that it was their turn next if the number of ministers was expanded? Is that right?

  • truth

    What a sad individual you must be, I seem to remember similar stupid comments from you not so long ago when other Sinn Fein elected reps resigned. For some who supports Sinn Fein you don’t seem to know many of the elected people in the party, other than Mary Lou? Your comments are shameful and really show your nothing more than a petty person with limited thought. Take it from someone from Fermanagh, Sinn Fein have lost 4 councillors and an MLA and dozens of activists all from the Fermanagh and South Tyrone constituency. Barry was director of elections for South Tyrone in the last election and will be a big loss to them.
    Dublinsfsupporter I suggest you open your eyes to the facts and maybe read something other than AP/RN you might be surprised to find barry and the other Cllrs from Fermanagh who resigned before him are actually correct in their decision, fair play to them all. And as for your thoughts on policing and SF holding the PSNI to account dont make me laugh them comments really show how far removed from the situation you are.
    Is it Dublin or Dubai your from?

  • dublinsfsupporter

    “With Dublin reduced from 4 to 3 European seats the Shinners will be squeezed out and I would take it as a near certainty that Mary Lou McDonald will lose that seat”

    Off the mark. Mary Lou has a spring in her step after Lisbon, and is unarguably Ireland’s most high profile MEP. Sinn Féin will hold Dublin and add one in the North West where Sinn Féin is looking good. Sinn Féin are on an electoral roll and the resignation of a town councillor from time to time is much to be expected in a party as dynamic as Sinn Féin.

  • dublinsfsupporter


    All the recent electoral evidence suggests that the voters in the six counties think differently from you.

  • Garibaldy

    PSF are on an electoral roll? I noticed that when they lost the seat at the last election, and failed to take key target seats, or meet the predictions they themselves had made. Mary Lou may well be Ireland’s most high profile MEP but it didn’t do her much good at the last general election in the south.

    The Lisbon vote was won, to be honest, not because of what any political party did, but because the IFA muddied the waters enough with its change of heart coming too late for many of its adherents to change to a yes vote.

    Is there any reason to think that votes on the EU treaty will transfer into votes in the domestic sphere? I seriously doubt it. There has been little evidence of this in the past. As has been shown by the fact that anti-treaty parties have never reached anywhere close to the percentage in general elections that the no vote gets in the referenda.

    Nobody minds people praising their own party, but preferably it should have some tenuous link to reality at least.

  • Tir Eoghain Gael

    Barry was a great councillor and will be sorely missed in the Dungannon area, the fact is that Barry is only one of many SF activists from the area who have left the party in recent months.
    The disillusionment comes from the top down directives coming from the cuige and party leadership.
    Our local cumman had approx 25 members the night we voted on the policing debate and today a meeting would belucky to see 5 members attend.
    It is notso much the fact that the party endorsed the PSNI at the time that sticks in so many activists throats but the lies that was fed to us to get the yes vote.
    Good luck to Barry in all you do in the future.

  • dublinsfsupporter

    Would you describe yourself as a spin doctor?

    Are you really a spokesperson for the party on a damage limitation exercise? It’s a good move using a Dublin voice as you imply that the party in the North is not really worried about losing SF councillor.

    But this loss of elected members is unprecedented and will destabilise the party. If the SDLP had ever lossed those kind of members and numbers, it would not be here as even the diminshed party it is today. Sinn Fein are heading for oblivion.

  • Lamh Dearg eile

    I’ve known Barry for quite a few years, solid and dependable and not afraid to argue his corner. I’d agree with Tir Eoghain Gael that the lies and dictatorship from the cuige and party leadership have proven to be too much for many.

    There can’t be many left who are prepared to question the “party line” or who ask “why?”. Seems that ensuring receipt of the salaries and the so-called ‘subsistence allowances’ have become uppermost in many minds.

  • dublinsfsupporter

    Tir Eoghain Gael, Lamh Dearg eile, et al

    Don’t get me wrong I wish Barry all the best and it is a regret that he has chosen a different path.

    John O’Connell,

    It’s fair to point out that Sinn Féin has picked up councillors over time from other parties or from people who were independent, e.g. Billy Leonard came from the SDLP while Oliver McMullan joined from being an independent councillor. It has been noted above that some of the best talent has tended to be flowing in an inward direction to Sinn Féin, take for example someone as high up in the party as Mary Lou McDonald who previously was not always in Sinn Féin and found themselves attracted to the party. Obviously, Sinn Féin is never happy to lose people but it is in the nature of politics that some people jump ship. The SDLP lost a North Down spokesperson recently to Alliance Party while there are councillors joining FF from other parties, etc etc etc.

  • dsfs

    Sinn Féin has picked up councillors over time from other parties or from people who were independent, e.g. Billy Leonard came from the SDLP while Oliver McMullan joined from being an independent councillor

    Good to know that you’re not even from Dublin, just there to spin the leadership’s yarn.

    The fact is that Sinn fein has been losing manpower all over the North and risk meltdown. The SDLP has lost very few members, especially elected members in recent time, while Sinn Fein is shedding members like a dying dog sheds hair.

    I give Gerry Adams to Christmas when they’ll turf him out as a phoney who is deluded about the strategy they are adopting to create Irish unity, a strategy that suggests that they will persuade unionists to accept a united Ireland while refusing to apologise for their role in the Troubles.

  • Tir Eoghain Gael

    There is no point in trying to attract young talent in to the party if all you are there to do is enact connolly house directives.
    Barry had a uni degree in Irish politics and had committed most his adult life to republican activism he is the type of member that sinn fein could do well to hold onto.
    Barry Monteith like many of us is a republican first and a SF member second. There are still many good republicans in SF who are unhappy with the way things are going but only stay active in the party because doing nothing is not an option.

  • cynic

    “This is due to an increased disillusionment with current Sinn Fein strategy”

    I am surprised he found one to disagree with

  • There are still many good republicans in SF who are unhappy with the way things are going but only stay active in the party because doing nothing is not an option.

    Posted by Tir Eoghain Gael


    It seems to me there has always been good republicans within SF, the problem is, when differences arise with the leadership, they always act as individuals, never as an organized group. Thus the leadership come long and bribe or bully some of them to toe the line, and those who will not bend the knee leave the party on an individual bases, only to find themselves smeared with talk of blighted ambition etc.

    Thus the leadership cadre get their way, this has now happened on countless issues.

    For example there are many members who disagreed or were apprehensive over policing, yet they refused to form an opposition group and thus the leadership picked them off or drove them out as individuals.

  • Garibaldy

    Alternatively Mick, those discontented with the leadership are actually a small minority of the membership, and an even smaller minority of their supporters. That seems to me to be the case, though dissent does get concentrated in certain areas.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Who does Ms Gildernew think she is to cast aspersions on Barry Monteith’s republicanism? Good on you, Barry. It took a while but you made it. If only there was a republican party for you to join now!



    I think your analysis is spot on. There have been countless resignations from Sinn Fein the last 3 or 4 years but there is always some excuse trotted out by Connolly House to spin it. Many are walking away because they are fed up with the China like control the leadership has over members, particularly councillors & MLA’s. Many dissenters still within Sinn Fein are just afraid to speak up or challenge the heirarchy lest they be cast out and consigned to a social & Republican wilderness. Basically they stay because they have given so much and have nothing else. Fear & community exclusion is a big factor in them shutting up. Those who have left would indeed have a stronger position if they formed a cohesive voice and strategy. Many are not necessarily anti Peace Process but are fed up with the Animal Farm scenario they find themselves in. ALL Republicans are EQUAL but some are MORE EQUAL than others!

  • Tir Eoghaim Gael

    The problem is that the directives coming from the top down is for the good of the party and not necessarily for the good of a united Ireland.

    I could safely say that the vast majority of the men and women in the party are there to further on the objectives of a united Ireland. Politically astute people, mostly self taught, but some like Barry that came into the party with a politcal degree and willing to give his input in furthering the All Ireland agenda.
    As an Irish republican I feel that we should put the objective of the united Ireland before the welfare of the party, if part of the agreement on a united Ireland was the disbandment of Sinn Fein I could not care less. You may call that disloyal but I think the vast majority of Sinn Fein activists would feel the same. They are just there to put their shoulder to the wheel so to speak and see sinn fein as a vehicle so to do that.

  • coup coup, i just want you

    maybe its time for a bloody/bloodless coup.
    take it down from the mast and all that…….

  • Truth

    Pancho’s Horse
    There is a republican party he can join called eirigi
    they are a Republican party for the future

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Aye, Truth, time will tell.But do we need a split now?

  • Truth

    Panchos Horse
    The word split is something that has been used as a blackmailing tactic by Sinn Fein and other parties in Ireland the past when they totally abandoned there Republicanism and were afraid of people organising against them. But when Sinn Fein
    (1)Excepted Northern Ireland as a legitimate state
    (2)Endorsed a British police force
    (3)Supports a British criminal justice system
    (4)Work in a Unionist Majority executive
    (5)Have abandoned the grass roots
    (6)Abandoned their socialism
    When these things and ive only mentioned a few have happened you can either bury your head in the sand and except British rule or your can join a true Irish Republican party like eirigi help build it up and work to remove the British from Ireland.

  • east tyrone remembers

    Seamus Mallon once said the GFA was sunningdale for slow learners well if that is the case Barry Montieth must have an iq of 6. When did he catch on that SF were selling us down the river when they signed the GFA and accepted that the principle of consent?-NO When his erstwhile colleague/agent francie molloy said that they were going administer british rule in Ireland?-NO When the IRA surrendered its arsenal?-NO When they brow beat, bullied and intimadated other Republicans for daring to have a different viewpoint than PSF?-NO When they accepted the psni as the official police force of this country?-NO. It was only when the Belfast leadership told the so called republican movement in Tyrone to stop its criminality that he and others resigned. Don’t try and let on it was for some noble principle- why did he not resign after the ard fheis when they endorsed the psni????? Tell the truth Barry for once in your life we in east tyrone know what is really happening

  • Tir Eoghain Gael

    I am from East Tyrone, What is really happening?

  • Pancho’s Horse

    How can post 8 @ 08:26 come after post 7 @ 08:57?

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Perhaps ‘east tyrone remembers’ has forgotten.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    sorry. missed the day change.