“Leaving Sinn Féin is like leaving the Mafia.”

Not my words, but those of independent Councillor Dessie Ward – who left Sinn Féin in March of this year.  The Irish News reports today that he’s complained of having been threatened and harrassed since he resigned from the party.

“There were various reasons why I left the party,” [Cllr Ward] said. “But I tried not to go into too much detail at the time becasue I wanted to leave on a positive note.” 

“But from the day and hour I left the party there have been constant attacks on my character and ability.”

“There appears to be an attitude that if you aren’t in the party, you’ve had it.

“It’s not like any other political party.  Leaving Sinn Féin is like leaving the Mafia.”

In the report Cllr Ward also said that he felt unable to work with Sinn Féin MLA John O’Dowd.

“I’d say around 30 per cent of the reason I left was because of John O’Dowd.

“Then some of the things came out about Sinn Féin I wasn’t entirely comfortable with.

“The issue of child abuse and how that was dealt with – I thought they should have said that things happened during the conflict that should not have but instead they tried to spin their way out of it.

“Gerry Adams not admitting that he was even a member of the IRA, I couldn’t understand.”

And the Irish News has a response from John O’Dowd

Mr O’Dowd dismissed Mr Ward’s claims.

“Since Dessie Ward resigned from Sinn Féin several months ago he has launched a number of unfounded media attacks on me and the party,” he said.

“Some of his comments regarding me are currently with my legal team and I await their advice.”

Hmm…