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Sinn feins cork meltdown

Thursday, 25th June, 2015 1:00am

Sinn Féin in Cork are set to lose more members after one cumann resigned in its entirety this week, with more to follow.

The party is reeling after a week in which long-running strife exploded into the public eye after one Cobh county councillor was expelled and a Mallow county councillor was suspended for a year, following an internal review by the party, lead by Cork TD Jonathan O'Brien.

The story is set to run for much longer as the councillors have until 13 July to appeal the decision.

Following the announcement of the decision on Monday, the entire membership of the Fermoy branch met on Tuesday night and tendered their resignations for what they called an "an unjust and undemocratic act".

It is expected that other East Cork cumainn will meet over the next days to discuss the situation, including branches in Mallow, Cobh and Mitchelstown. So far, Sinn Féin said that five Fermoy members have tendered their resignations. At least one other Cobh member has also resigned from the party, leaving it in a weakened position ahead of an impending general election.

In a statement, the members of the Fermoy branch said they hold Cllr Melissa Mullane and Cllr Kieran McCarthy in high regard on a personal and professional level. As a result they said they could "not stand idly by while what we view as a seriously unjust and undemocratic act is carried out in our name.

"We consider the action an affront to the democratic, socialist and republican ideals that the party stands for and would strongly urge the Sinn Féin leadership to revisit their decision and not stand in the way of the democratic process within the party."

Councillor Kieran McCarthy is likely to run as an independent candidate in the general election although he is taking legal advice on whether to appeal the Sinn Féin decision. He has 21 days from last Monday to appeal that decision. The party have asked that both he and Cllr Mullane to step down as councillors. All Sinn Féin election candidates are asked to sign a pledge before elections in which they undertake to give their seats back to the party; should they resign or be expelled or suspended from the party.

The councillors were informed on Monday of their expulsion and suspension following a review of the party's organisation in the constituency.

Cllr McCarthy said he does not know why he has been expelled but denied it had anything to do with his taking out of a loan from a credit union before the local election in the name of the party. He denies any wrongdoing and said the money has all been paid back. He claimed on Red FM's 'The Neil Prendeville Show' that he suspected he was expelled for wanting to run in the general election against the current sitting TD, Sandra McLellan.

It has been reported that Cllr Mullane was suspended for "uncomradely behaviour" with an internal review saying the councillor undermined and marginalised the current TD. She has not commented publicly since the news broke.

Speaking on Red FM yesterday, Cllr McCarthy was very critical of Ms McLellan. He said: "As a politician, she's not up to scratch, she's not a good TD, she hasn't served the people in my town or neighbouring towns."

Attempts to contact Cllr McCarthy and Mullane failed, while interview requests with Sandra McLellan TD were rebuffed.

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