Sinn Féin’s little local difficulty in East Cork rumbles on… [And on…]

In the aftermath of the Sinn Féin party hierarchy’s expelling of Cllr Kieran McCarthy from the party, and suspending Cllr Melissa Mullane, there’s been reports of more “uncomradely behaviour” in East Cork.  The Irish Times reports

The members of a Sinn Féin cumann in Fermoy, Co Cork have resigned from the party after one of its local councillors was expelled from the party.

Up to 15 members met on Tuesday night and put forward their resignations.

In a statement, the cumann said the decision was with “deep regret” but was in wake of the sanctioning of two councillors by the party.

“We hold Cllr Melissa Mullane and Cllr Kieran McCarthy in high regard on both a personal and professional level,” the members said.

“We can therefore not stand idly by while what we view as a seriously unjust and undemocratic act is carried out in our name.”

The resignations follow a decision to expel Mr McCarthy and suspend Ms Mullane after a review into the party’s Cork East structures.

The statement added: “We consider the action an affront to the democratic, socialist and republican ideals that the party stands for and would strongly urge the Sinn Fein leadership to revisit their decision and not stand in the way of the democratic process within the party.”

The, which also has a go at answering the question “What on earth is going on with Sinn Féin in Cork East?“, has a response from an un-named Sinn Féin spokesperson has learned that at an emergency general meeting of the Sinn Féin branch in the east county Cork town last night, the officer board and general membership put forward their resignations.

It was understood that this involved around 15 members of the party who are part of the longest-standing cumann in the Cork area. However Sinn Féin disputed the numbers this afternoon.

A party spokesperson claimed that five of those who put their names to a resignation letter were not members at all and added that as many as four other names on the list had not been informed about the letter.

The spokesperson added that any member who wished to resign from the party had to do so personally and in writing.

[And sign it in their own blood!? – Ed] Probably not…  Apparently, there are more meetings to be held in the area…

Further cumann meetings are planned in Cobh tonight and Mallow today with local sources claiming that more members in the region are likely to resign from the party.

And the Irish Times report adds

The party’s Cobh cumann is to meet on Wednesday night and Cllr McCarthy said he expects another mass resignation.

He said he was not shocked by the decision in Fermoy and said trouble had been brewing in the party for months.

“I have been in the party for over 30 years and they obviously expected me to go quietly,” he said. “But I have no choice.”

Meanwhile, the contradictory Sinn Féin spokesperson is at it again in the

This afternoon, a spokesperson for Sinn Féin pointed out that the entire party structure in Cork East had been stood down as a result of the O’Brien Review.

“We’ll be contacting members in the coming days asking them to come back on board,” they said.

[Even the ones who never resigned in the first place? – Ed]   Especially them.

As for the local Sinn Féin TD, Sandra McLellan…  From the background story

Last month, the Sunday Times reported on tensions which had emerged between members in Cork East Sinn Féin after McCarthy and Mullane both declared their interest in running for the Dáil.

These declarations came as a result of a general unhappiness with sitting TD Sandra McLellan’s performance since she was elected to the Dáil in 2011. With two councillors putting their name forward it raised the very real prospect of McLellan being deselected, meaning she would be unable to run for re-election.

Nationally, McLellan, a former Siptu shop steward, has kept a very low-profile despite being one of only three female members (the others are Mary Lou McDonald and Senator Kathryn Reilly) of Sinn Féin’s 17-strong Oireachtas group.

One of the only times she made headlines was in June 2012 when she questioned the party’s policy of paying its elected representatives the average industrial wage. In May she was made the party’s children and youth affairs spokesperson in addition to her role as arts and culture spokesperson. She also serves on the Oireachtas Health Committee.

Veteran TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, who worked with McLellan on that committee, has previously described her as “a very able and hardworking” TD who has “an attention to detail”.

But speaking on Newstalk today, the expelled McCarthy said that having canvassed hard for McLellan in Cobh at the last general election, he now felt she had paid little attention to the town since being elected.

McLellan has declined to comment and we’ve been told she does not wish to speak to journalists at this time.


Update  And, following the meeting in Cobh, a statement has emerged announcing the resignation of a further 54 local members of Sinn Féin.  From the Irish Times report

The resignations follow similar action at the party’s Fermoy cumann on Tuesday night where 15 members quit in protest at the treatment of the two councillors.

The party has refused to disclose why the action was taken against the two councillors.

A statement purporting to represent the members of Sinn Féin’s Cobh cumann claimed that 54 members had resigned in protest at the treatment meted out to two party councillors in Cork.

“We deplore the unjust, undemocratic and reprehensible manner in which our two comrades were and are being treated by our former party.”

The statement of the Michael Burke Cumann Cobh declares that the two councillors are of “good standing” in Cork.

The RTÉ report adds

It is understood the resignations leave just two members in the Michael Burke Cumann.

A spokesman, who did not wish to be named, said notice of the resignations was being forwarded to the Sinn Féin headquarters with the names of the 54 people who have resigned.

In response, a Sinn Féin spokesman said the party had not received notification of the resignations and, in any event, party structures in the constituency had been “stood down”.

The party spokesman said party members in the Cork East constituency would be briefed on the situation and would be given the “full information relating to the constituency review”.

The spokesman said that process commenced last evening, with a meeting involving members from Mallow, Fermoy, Carrigtwohill, Youghal, Midleton and Mitchelstown.

The spokesman described the meeting as “extremely positive” and said those in attendance had expressed a desire to get on with the party’s work.

RTÉ News understands, however, that Sinn Féin members in Midleton, Carrigtwohill and Fermoy are also considering resigning over the controversy.

…and on…

And the local Cork East Sinn Féin TD, Sandra McLelland, may not wish to speak to journalists at this time, but the party has released a statement in her name claiming that “she is satisfied with the outcome of the party’s internal review of the constituency”.  [No shit, Sherlock! – Ed]  *ahem*  In addition, the statement says

[Sandra McLellan] “There can be no doubt that the internal review in Cork East has been tough for party members.  It has been long but it has been thorough and I believe that it has been fair.

Nobody likes to lose party members but now is the time to move on from this whole episode and I am looking forward to getting on with the party’s work in the constituency and building for the future. [added emphasis]

So there have been resignations, after all…  And…

“I will be contesting the upcoming convention and hope to win the support of the party members in Cork East to stand once again for Sinn Féin and to retain this seat for the party.

[Now that those two troublesome priests councillors have been gotten rid of… – Ed]  Indeed.  But how many party members will be left in Cork East?

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