“Sinn Féin is replacing a number of Councillors at City Hall…”

DUP MLA, and junior minister, Robin Newton, appears to have rattled the cage of fellow Belfast City Councillor, Sinn Féin’s Tom Hartley, with his speculation “about Sinn Fein removing six of their current Councillors” on Belfast City Council.

“It seems that the current Sinn Fein group is seen as being too soft and is perceived as having become institutionalised and establishment friendly. It looks like the extreme socialist wing of Sinn Fein is unhappy with the performance of the current supposedly more pragmatic members.

All the talk is about six hard liners who have been battle tested  taking over six seats and they will put forward a more fundamental and radical Sinn Fein policy.

“Six” would be over 40% of their current council grouping of 14.

According to Cllr Hartley’s response

Sinn Féin is replacing a number of Councillors at City Hall in line with our party’s policy of phasing out dual-mandates

Which, by my reckoning, is the situation for two of Sinn Féin’s current councillors in Belfast.

Cllr Hartley also states

Sinn Féin’s new and rejuvenated team will build on the important work of those councillors stepping aside to take up other activist roles within the party

So how many of the current 14 Sinn Féin councillors in Belfast are “stepping aside to take up other activist roles within the party”?

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  • Paul McMahon

    Fair analysis Fitzy. I’d go for Chrissie Mac in Upper Falls.

  • pippakin


    It would be my pleasure to meet you and your wife.

  • redhugh78
  • Stephen Ferguson

    You gotta love the patriotic, Braveheart-esque fiddly-dee background music in that video.

    No doubt intended to raise the hairs on the back of any watching Oirish-Yankee necks….

  • Francis Cassin

    It’s not a secret.

    ‘Enthusiasm and experience – West Belfast Sinn Féin selects council candidates’

    Published: 13 October, 2010


  • Cynic

    “You being a unionist, my jaundiced view would mean little to you”

    Insular? Moi?

  • Cynic

    Interesting behind the scenes spin on this from SF – that they are replacing councillors who have been too moderate are becoming seen as too mainstream and establishment.

    They must be starting to feel the pressure from the dissers then in areas like Ardoyne and West Belfast. They may also want to clear out some who have some little personal problems in the background that might surface in an election campaign as things get more difficult. I think that may be part of the real story here.

    But if they really want to get rid of the establishment figures, where does this leave the blessed Great Leader? And half the Assembly Team?

  • Cynic

    My aren’t they all well dressed and well fed these days. Truly representative of the wider community in deprived West Belfast. A few shots of the cars parked outside might also have been instructive.

    ” All animals are equal ….but some …………”

  • Cynic


    Aw come on…… don’t let reality intrude

  • Cynic

    “All Irish people are Irish republicans”

    They told you that did they?

  • Comrade Stalin

    I’d say you have called that about right. Everyone is annoyed about being dictated to by Alliance.

    The UUP and SDLP are keen to disarm Alliance to reduce the pressure coming upon them from the centre (Naomi Long’s election campaign, some might argue, began when she was elected Lord Mayor). The DUP and SF hate the idea that they have to get Alliance permission in order to elect anybody, but more importantly, they hate the idea of having to cut deals with the UUP and SDLP respectively in order to get anyone in from their tribe. The details are a bit fuzzy but I think there was at least one occasion where we ended up with either an Alliance or a nationalist Mayor even when it was the unionist “turn” because they couldn’t agree on a candidate.

    I suspect Alliance can do bugger all, except point out the unsurprisingly characteristic hypocrisy of the unionists who spend a lot of column inches and hot air ranting about how unfair and wrong d’Hondt is, and then go and actively support the use of it on the council. In general terms, d’Hondt doesn’t feel like it was intended to be used in scenarios where only one official would be elected and I have no idea how it is supposed to work here – I’m sure it can’t be the case that the largest party always gets the job.

    My opinion is that Alliance have exercised the power responsibly. The party has taken advantage of it to take the Lord Mayor position a few times, but it has also taken care to ensure that it is rotated properly between unionists and nationalists. There is some solace to be taken from the fact that the four parties were able to get together to agree to end Alliance’s balance of power, but this is tempered by the fact that all they have agreed to do is to remove themselves from the decision-making process so that they can point to a complicated set of rules rather than taking responsibility for what they’re doing.

  • Kremlin watching. Seeing who is in and out and trying to make sense of what goes on behind those walls. One thing for sure is that the people are not part of the consideration.

  • Anon

    The really interesting one being chopped is Michael Brown. He has led the SF group for quite a while now. His departure has nothing whatsoever to do with dual mandates. What’s going on?

  • Alan Maskey

    Hava a look at the impressive professional sound equipment they use. Having Bobby Storey chair this and Adams in the background shows the Great Leader still has the reins.
    How come Tom Hartley never did serious time? Or Gerry for that matter.
    Fra McCann is right to walk. He has put on too much weight and there must be another up and coming useful idiot there with fewer heart/liver problems to take his place.
    Still fair play to Gerry for having such a cohesive team. All helps in safeguarding and securing the image of The Great One.

  • Rory Carr

    “Better that the SDLP the ordinary people.”

    A sentence without a verb is meaningless, but then so is this sentence that follows even though it has a verb:

    “They have no ideological need to sell the people in the interests of the state.”.

    Just what is it that you are trying to say?

  • pippakin


    Yes indeed! On this side of the border how many do you think would say no?

    I do hope you have not been paying any attention to the laughable FG person.

  • Anon

    Is that spincoming from SF? I only see the DUP quoted here.

    Does anyone have any proof that the new people are any more radical, exactly? SF is fairly consistent at moving in new people. That’s generally a positive for me.

  • Alan Maskey


    Also check out the related PSF gig outside Connolly House. Adams chews gum, shows his expensively tailored teeth, is sheltered from the rain by some poor female PSF hack, whose shoulder the Great Leader uses to rest on, speaks a few words in Irish (makes grammatical mistakes), makes his James Connolly speech and unveils the new plaque on the railings outside.
    First thing I thought is someone is going to nick that plaque for their bedroom. The clip ends with a group posing in front of the plaque. Gerrry is the only one of them using a brolly. What a wimp.

  • Neil

    His departure has nothing whatsoever to do with dual mandates. What’s going on?

    I know as much as Robin does I reckon, but reorganisations in my place of work tend to have a variety of peple being shifted for a variety of reasons. 2 councillors go because of dual mandates, maybe on or two for family reasons. Then councillors get swapped into the council from their roles elsewhere which then need to be filled etc.

    There are too many variables which myself and Robin know absolutely nothing about to make an informed comment. But it’s close to election time so I reckon we can look forward to the DUP employing any and all tactics, inculding spurious scare tactics such as this line of ‘SF are removing those mad Republicans from the council so they can put in even madder ones’ bollocks.

  • quality

    I would like to see the evidence for blanket statements such as “all Irish people are in favour of a UI”

  • Anon

    I doubt there are going to be many votes switching from Sinn Fein to the DUP or vice versa, so that defence doesn’t really stack up. 6 is a very big number and it does seem hard to simply explain away with the dual mandates stuff.

  • White Horse


    honour is the verb that is missing. Thanks for informing me.

    In relation to the matter raised, I refer you to one Michael McDowell, of the republican right that suggests that inequality is the ingredient that makes a nation great. That great servant of ideological nationhood, Gerry Adams, left today, right tomorrow, tells us that Ireland is a god worth killing for. The SDLP has no such god.

  • Well having been a guess of Junior Minister Robin Newton last night at the Council meeting i believe its good to replace members on all sides.

    I spoke to Alex Maskey as it was his last time speaking in the Chamber.

  • Reader

    Neil: I know as much as Robin does I reckon, but reorganisations in my place of work tend to have a variety of peple being shifted for a variety of reasons. 2 councillors go because of dual mandates,
    If the SF cover story is only one about third correct even by your own estimation, you could have been a bit more generous to Robin and Pete picking up on the issue.
    Mind you, a cover story of 2 out of 6 is a pretty good score for SF.

  • redhugh78

    Funny how the masses on Slugger trying to paint the replacement of SF councillors as somehow sinister have not addressed the fact that they are seen happily receiving tokens of appreciation for their endevours from the party leader on the above you tube link.
    One would think they mightn’t be too open to a statue if they had been pushed aside.
    …only on Slugger.

  • Rory Carr

    Mark’s contempt allegation is misplaced and merely demonstrates yet another desperate knee-jerk attempt to tar-brush Sinn Féin with something, anything.

    Decisions on changes of personnel or electoral candidates within any party lie within the province of party members or of a party executive mandated to act on behalf of the members. The election of councillors lies within the province of the electorate who can decide whether or not they are happy with the choice of party candidates. In this case far from showing contempt, all is as it should be.

    Next week: Mark spots dandruff specks on the shoulders of Pearse Doherty’s jacket. Claims it indicates SF disdain for appearances and disrespect for hardworking barbers’ apprentices.