Sinn Féin’s little local difficulty in East Cork continues with the resignation, from the party, of Cork county councillor June Murphy – who represents the Fermoy electoral area. [Is the constituency organisation still suspended? – Ed] Good question…
Cllr Murphy said: “As most people will be aware there have been some issues within the Sinn Fein party in East Cork. Upon my return to the party last year I found myself unwillingly and unavoidably caught up in these issues. Although I have tried, at all times, to do my best, both for the party and for the people of my constituency who elected me to represent them, I have found my time in the party to be an increasingly negative experience. I have participated wholeheartedly in all party efforts to resolve the aforementioned issues. However, I have now got to the point where I hold no hope of this experience improving in the foreseeable future and it is for that reason that I have taken the decision to leave the party. I intend [to] continue to represent the people of the Fermoy Municipal District who elected me to the very best of my ability.” [added emphasis]
And the Sinn Féin response…
A Sinn Fein spokesperson said they were sorry to see Cllr Murphy leave the party but said she should return her seat to the party. He said: “June Murphy is a very hard working councillor and public representative. We are very sorry to see her go.”
“It is important to note that Cllr Murphy’s resignation is not a result [of] any political or policy differences with the party. “We have requested that Cllr Murphy returns the council seat to the party as she was elected on a Sinn Féin mandate.” [added emphasis]
[Is that because she was a paid representative of the party! – Ed] And not a public representative…
As for “Cllr Murphy’s resignation is not a result [of] any political or policy differences with the party”… Well, quite.
The Irish Times report recounts the background to the resignation.
Her departure follows that of Cllr Kieran McCarthy, from Cobh, who left the party during the summer. He will contest the general election as an Independent candidate.
In June Mr McCarthy was expelled from the party and Kanturk-based Cllr Melissa Mullane was suspended, following an internal dispute that also involved Sinn Féin TD Sandra McLellan.
Mr McCarthy was subsequently offered temporary reinstatement but declined it. Ms Mullane has had her suspension lifted.
Earlier this year, Mr McCarthy had said he wished to challenge Ms McLellan to be the party’s general election candidate in Cork East.
Since her election in 2011, opinion within the party at local level has been divided about Ms McLellan’s performance at both national and local level.
An internal Sinn Féin inquiry into the issues behind the rows, chaired by Cork North Central TD Jonathan O’Brien, is understood to have strongly backed Ms McLellan.
Whether that will continue to be the party’s position remains to be seen.