Cork Sinn Féin party whip: “Nobody wants to lose a councillor.”

If losing one councillor may be regarded as a misfortune, and two carelessness, then three looks like… [Wilfulness? – Ed]  Perhaps…  But if Sinn Féin thought they had drawn a line under their little local difficulty in Cork when the party’s sitting TD Sandra McLellan announced she would not be standing in the next General Election, they might have to think again.

The Irish Examiner reports that Glanmire-based Cobh Councillor Ger Keohane has informed Cork Council Council and Sinn Féin party headquarters that he, too, has resigned from the party – despite having sought the party’s nomination to run as a second general election candidate in the Cork North Central constituency two weeks earlier.  That last point was being heavily leant on by the Sinn Féin spokesperson in report.  But the Irish Times reported that the party’s selection decision had been a surprise to others.

Some political commentators have expressed surprise at the party’s decision to add city based Cllr Gould to the ticket rather than Cllr Keohane as the former was based in the city as is Mr O’Brien.

“There was a strong argument for running someone from the rural part of the constituency which makes up over 50 per cent of the electorate and Ger Keohane was the obvious candidate,” a source said.

“Mr O’Brien” is, of course, Jonathan O’Brien, current Sinn Féin TD for Cork North Central, who will be standing next time out.  He also headed the Spanish Inquisition internal party inquiry which led to the controversial defenestration expulsion from Sinn Féin of Keohane’s fellow Cobh Councillor, Kieran McCarthy.

Cllr Keohane’s resignation now leaves Sinn Féin with no representatives from the Cobh Electoral Area on Cork County Council after having two local councillors elected in June 2014.  Overall the party has dropped from 10 county councillors in Cork to 7 since the election a year ago, while the number of Independents has risen from 10 to 15 councillors.

As the Irish Examiner report noted

Sinn Féin has now dropped to seven seats on the council from the 10 it had.

The Independents have risen from 10 in June 2014 to 15 now, and are just behind Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael which have 16 each.

Mr Keohane was unavailable for comment last night, but SF’s party whip on the council, Donnchadh O’Laoighaire, said he had been informed of the move by his party’s headquarters.

“Nobody wants to lose a councillor,” said Mr O’Laoighaire. “Ger’s resignation came as a surprise particularly as he put his name forward for selection two weeks ago for general election nomination. I don’t know what his long-term plans are.

“Yes, it’s disappointing but we will continue to provide the strongest voice of opposition on Cork County Council.”

Needless to say, from the same report, Independents on the Council are not disappointed

Declan Hurley, spokesman for the Independents on the council, said he had been aware for some time that Mr Keohane was not happy.

“He’s a community-based councillor who feels he can’t represent his constituents through Sinn Fein,” said Mr Hurley. “We’d be delighted to have him.”

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  • Robin Keogh

    It is indeed sad to lose a councillor but better lose him to persue his personal agenda if the party cannot facilitate him. The cork membership chose their candidates for the upcoming election and it wouldnt be fair to put someone forward who didnt have majority support. In any event, good luck to him in his future endeavours.

  • And to lose three in the same area in the same number of months?

    Keep telling yourself that it’s the membership’s decision, Robin.

  • Neil

    SF + 2 in latest poll. Should serve as some consolation. I assume a thread on the subject is imminent.

  • Robin Keogh

    Of course it is not good Pete. But what are the options? Do what all the other parties do and give in to self interested tantrums? I voted for my candidate here in wicklow along with my fellow sheep. We even had a free vote, imagine that !! Keep telling yourself its the leadership’s decision if thats what fits your fantasy schedule.

  • Robin Keogh

    Apparently a dead mouse was found only two miles from the home of the ex partner of a Sinn Fein members second cousin, according to INM a source close to a source, close to a source, close to the mother of a garda, has confirmed that the armyless Army Council is suspected of having planned the murder of the rodent in retaliation for the pubonic plague. A cat is being held on suspician of IRA membership…. dont be telling pete that the shinners are doing well in the polls just before he goes to bed, he wont get a wink now 🙁

  • chrisjones2


    You forgot some bits. .

    The mouse was in fact a securocrat agent who was killed by another agent working on the direction of a third Agent close to the Army Council . We know this because another securocrat Agent on the Army Council reported it back to his Garda handlers via a priest who was acting as an intermediary while attempting to settle the internecine warfare in SF in Cork.

    The human rights lawyer representing the mouse,speaking on behalf of his family and the Legal Aid Authorities said

    “My client was a well known and respected member of the local rodent community struck down in the prime of life by agents of the state and in a most vicious, cowardly and clawful manner

    At the time of the murder it was raining. We have clear evidence that this shower was unnatural and was in fact prearranged as part of a complex plot involving the British and Irish Governments to wash away the forensic evidence linking the crime to a large Tabby Cat who just happens to live at the home of a Senior SF Member in Cork.

    We also want a full investigation into the fact that a car with 2 uniformed officers was seen leaving the Garda Station in Donegal just 3 hours after the shooting. Reliable sources in a bar in Ballyshannon have alleged that the boot of this car contained a 6 pack of Felix Cat Food and my clients are convinced that this was connected to this dreadful crime

    We are now calling for an independent International Inquiry to fully and impartially get at the Truth and fix the Blame on the Brits. Indeed, we would prefer that this should be chaired by someone not normally resident on Earth to ensure its impartiality”

  • Robin Keogh

    That took a while 😉

  • aquifer

    Don’t be catty.

  • chrisjones2

    Sorry …real life intervened and I was tucked up in bed with a cup of cocoa and a good woman when you posted
    Besides conspiracy theories need time to mature

  • chrisjones2

    You realise the cat now has taken out a super injunction?

  • Robin Keogh

    And i was all cosy with a good man. Good enough to make sure i wasnt distracted by slugger. Oooch ! 😉

  • Robin Keogh

    And i was all cosy with a good man. Good enough to make sure i wasnt distracted by slugger. Oooch ! 😉

  • Jag

    This hiccup shows it’s not a one way trajectory for SF, but in the overall scheme of things, they more than doubled their TDs in 2011, they trebled their local councillors in 2014 and went from zero to three MEPs also in 2014. They’re 21% in the Sunday Times poll today, behind FG on 26% sure, but ahead of FF on 20% and Labour at, ahem, 7%. However the AAA/PBP are now at 9% and the AAA’s Paul Murphy did spectacularly steal the Dublin south west constituency from what was predicted to be a SF sure thing last October. And Labour didn’t recruit Mairia Cahill for her taste in scarves. SF face a multi-pronged attack on the Left.

    SF was probably at its zenith in mid 2014; that’s when the economy started to recover in earnest. Back then, the prediction was that it would have 34 seats in the next Dail, up from 14 today. The present prediction is that it will get 24 seats. I think it will in fact lose a couple of existing seats, probably including Sandra McLellan’s but it should secure about a dozen new faces.

    There will be further hiccups, but SF’s direction of travel remains forward, at least for the time being.

  • Robin Keogh

    The 9% for PBP/AAA is good news for SF in terms of transfers. The ‘right2change’ movement which includes PBP and a smatterring of like minded left independents are pushing for voters to choose left leaning parties and individuals over traditional party groups. Moreover, transfer patterns in recent elections show SF have lost much of their transfer toxicity that has bedevilled them in the past. Murphy stole the seat alright but he did so on FG transfers, transfers that will not be available in a general election. I agree however that 34 seats is not a realistic target. 24/26 is more realistic and enough to force a grand coalition. Winter and early spring polls are traditionally very kind to SF, lets hope it translates into seats.

  • kalista63

    Pavlovian response to a shinner story

  • Granni Trixie

    It’s not unreasonable given what NI has suffered.

  • Eh? There’s an absence of context in kalista’s flippant response.

  • That may be true, Jag, but the loss of three councillors in Cork relates to internal party difficulties, not external pressures.

  • Jag

    I disagree with you Robin about SF benefitting from an ascendant AAA. The socialists accuse SF of supporting and implementing austerity in Northern Ireland, and have refused to recommend to their supporters to transfer to SF. I wouldn’t be too sensitive about that though; the Left is riven with battling egos and that was long before the recent frostiness towards SF. I think a growing AAAPBP will eat into SF’s vote on the Left for first preferences, and that SF won’t benefit from later count transfers.

    I also disagree about the transfer friendliness of SF. I looked at the Roscommon South Leitrim by-election last year. In the 2011 election, the SF candidate won 4,637 first preference votes and when eliminated on the fifth count had added 1,471 votes for a final total of 6,108.

    In the 2014 by election, SF won 5,906 votes but only added 1,116 votes by the fifth count for a final total of 7,022. Seems to me that SF has lost transfer attractiveness as I understand the term. Certainly, it doesn’t appear to me to have improved in the past four years.

    Overall, SF will undoubtedly increase its presence in the Oireachtas next year, despite the odd local difficulty. Also, it’s looking increasingly likely that SF will be the biggest Opposition party which traditionally augurs well. It’s just that the shine has come off the party in the past 18 months, and with the economy generally racing forward, 2014 may be looked back on as the party’s zenith.

  • Jag

    Given the growth and size of SF in the past four years, such difficulties are to be expected; there’ll be more of them. At least it shows that SF isn’t quite the cult it’s sometimes portrayed as!

  • Robin Keogh

    We will have to wait and see but if you study the local council elections and the european elections last year plus the carlow kilkenny by election this year you will see that the transfer rate in general with some exceptions was much better than in the past. AAA are difficult. They seem to be very purist in their socialism and are not willing to do business with anybody. However, their voters will not transfer to the traditional parties so it remains to be seen where they will go instead.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I wouldn’t totally rule out government with Fine Gael. 😉

  • Kevin Breslin

    The Southern Electorate are far more used to pondering their options than the Northern Electorate