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O'Brien denies Sinn Féin rift

Thursday, 9th January, 2020 9:06am

Sinn Féin TD Jonathan O’Brien has refuted that there is a rift between him and the party after he announced this week that he would not be contesting the next general election.

He described it as a “difficult” decision to make and one that he made after several months of consideration.

There had been rumours in Cork’s political circles that the northside TD and Sinn Féin (SF) were not seeing eye to eye. However this is something that the deputy rebutted.

He told the Cork Independent: “I want to make it clear that there are no issues between Sinn Féin and I. I would be the first to say it if there was any and there aren't. I will remain a member of the party after the election and I’ll be an active member of the party until the day I die.”

After his announcement, he said that it was a great privilege and honour to serve the people of Cork for 20 years as a SF-elected representative, first as a member of Cork City Council for 11 years, and the past nine years as a TD.

He added: “After two decades, I feel the time is right to pursue new personal challenges and opportunities and to step down knowing I have played a part over many years in ensuring Sinn Féin is in a very strong position in Cork North Central.

“I believe it is crucial that the people of Cork North Central continue to be represented by a SF TD and I will play my part in making sure that we retain this seat by remaining an active member of SF, and assisting the party in whatever way I can into the future,” he said.

Sinn Féin's selection convention for the next general election in the Cork North Central constituency will take place on 18 January. Cllr Thomas Gould, who finished second in the recent by-election and who was re-elected as a councillor in the last local election, is likely to be the party’s pick.

SF President Mary Lou McDonald said: “Someone of Jonathan's talent and calibre will undoubtedly be missed as a public representative, but I know that Jonathan will remain a proud and committed member of SF and will work to retain the seat and contribute to the party in other ways into the future.”

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