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As many as 70 Sinn Féin members in Cork are resigning from the party

But the party insists it has not received notification of these resignations.

The controversy over the sanctioning of these two councillors rumbles on
The controversy over the sanctioning of these two councillors rumbles on
Image: Sinn Féin/Facebook

Updated 2.38pm 

AS MANY AS 70 members of Sinn Féin in east Cork are understood to have resigned last night, but the party said today it had not been notified of this.

A statement issued by Sinn Féin’s Cobh cumann last night said that 54 members had resigned from the party in the wake of the sanctioning of two councillors in the area earlier this week.

On Monday Sinn Féin expelled Cobh-based county councillor Kieran McCarthy and suspend Mallow-based Melissa Mullane for one year following a review of the party’s organisation in the constituency.

The statement from the 54 members criticised the “unjust, undemocratic and reprehensible manner” in which the two councillors were treated.

Separately TheJournal.ie has learned that as many as 16 members based in Carrigtwohill are also resigning from the party.

Yesterday, 15 members in Fermoy were said to have resigned although Sinn Féin disputed this figure and said five of those were not members and an additional four were not aware of the resignation letter that had been sent to the party.

This website has learned that the Fermoy cumann, the longest standing in the region, plans to appoint a spokesperson and make a further statement in the next 24 hours.

Sinn Féin said in a statement today that it had not received notification of the resignations being reported in the last 24 hours.

A spokesperson said:

The party structures in the area are stood down. Over the coming days, the party will be contacting members in the East Cork constituency to brief them on the situation and to ensure that they have the full information relating to the constituency review.

The party held a meeting with members from Mallow, Fermoy, Carrigtwohill, Youghal, Midleton and Mitchelstown. A spokesperson said that over 20 members attended this meeting, including “two county councillors and key activists”.

They added: “The meeting was extremely positive with all in attendance expressing a desire to get on with the work of the party.”

The controversy began when Sinn Féin confirmed on Monday that it had expelled councillors McCarthy and Mullane.

Both councillors have been told to resign their Cork county council seats although they are not legally obliged to do so.

McCarthy is understood to have been expelled over a dispute involving a loan for thousands of euro taken in the name of the party. He denies any wrongdoing.

Meanwhile, Mullane was suspended for “uncomradely behaviour” with an internal review saying the county councillor was found to have intentionally undermined and marginalised the sitting Cork East TD McLellan. Mullane has not commented since her suspension.

The decision has led to an acrimonious public spat between McCarthy and the party. The review was carried out by Cork-based TD Jonathan O’Brien in the wake of tensions between membership and McLellan with McCarthy and Mullane both indicating they intended to challenge her at the Cork East selection convention.

In her first public comments since the controversy broke, McLellan said today that the internal review had been “tough for the party” but insisted it had been “thorough” and “fair”. She said:

Nobody likes to lose party members but now is the time to move on from this whole episode and I am looking forward to getting on with the party’s work in the constituency and building for the future.

Sinn Féin has denied suggestions that the sanction of the two councillors had anything to do with the convention.

McLellan said she was looking forward to contesting the selection convention which will be open to any party member to put their name forward for selection.

Previously, Sinn Féin rules stipulated that a sitting female TD could not be challenged by a male candidate, but the convention in Cork East will now be open to any member of the party.

Read: Sinn Féin claims there WASN’T a mass resignation of members in Fermoy last night

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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