When Sandra McLellan’s reported local party ally, Cllr June Murphy, resigned from Sinn Féin in September, citing her “increasingly negative experience” in the party, over that little local difficulty in East Cork, I wondered whether the party would continue to back their East Cork TD. Facing a new re-selection contest in the constituency, the party’s sitting TD has announced that she is withdrawing from the fray. From the RTÉ report
Sinn Féin has confirmed that the party’s TD Sandra McLellan has decided not to contest the next general election.
The Cork East TD posted on Facebook that her efforts as a TD were consistently undermined by a small number of party members locally.
The announcement follows a bitter row in the Sinn Féin organisation in Cork East earlier this year, which resulted in the resignation of dozens of party members.
The Irish Times quotes Sandra McLellan’s Facebook announcement
In a statement posted on her Facebook page, Ms McLellan confirmed that she had informed the Sinn Féin leadership last Thursday that she was not going to seek a nomination to run in Cork East
“I was asked to reconsider my position on this, which I undertook to do. However, I have decided not to contest the upcoming election for Sinn Féin,” said Ms McLellan in her statement.
“Over the period I have served as a TD, my efforts were consistently and persistently undermined by a small number in the constituency that called themselves members of Sinn Féin.”
Ms McLellan said that she was not prepared to “risk this for another term” and therefore would not be putting her name before the Sinn Fein Cork East selection convention due to be held on Sunday.
“I did everything in my power to provide good representation in both the constituency and Leinster House,” said Ms McLellan, who said she will continue to work as TD until the end of the Dáil term.
“It has been an honour to represent the people of Youghal and East Cork as a Sinn Féin TD over the last number of years,” she said, thanking family, friends and many in the party who stood by her.
As the Irish Times notes
In June, the party’s Ard Chomairle sanctioned the explusion of long serving party member Cllr Kieran McCarthy from Cobh who had won a seat for the party on Cork County Council in 2014.
The party said that it made the decision after a review of party structures in Cork East amid reports that Cllr McCarthy had been highly critical of Ms McLellan’s performance as a TD.
Cllr McCarthy hit back by accusing the party of “stabbing him in the back” and with the support of many ex-Sinn Féin members in Cobh, he is running as an independent candidate in Cork East
Sinn Féin’s Ard Chomairle also ordered the suspension of Mallow based Cllr Melissa Mullane for 12 months for “uncomradely behaviour” but she has since been re-admitted to the party.
However, Cllr Mullane’s readmission to the party ignited further controversy with Mitchelstown based Cllr June Murphy announcing her resignation from the party on foot of Cllr Mullane’s return.
Ms McLellan would have faced a serious challenge to hold her seat with Cllr McCarthy vying with her for the republican vote and Cllr [Pat]Buckley [the sole remaining Sinn Féin selection candidate] now faces the same challenge to hold the Sinn Féin seat.