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SocDems' Ellie Kisyombe criticises party leadership for 'disrupting' her campaign

Party co-leader Róisín Shortall described the issue as “water under the bridge”.

Dublin North Inner City candidate Ellie Kisyombe.
Dublin North Inner City candidate Ellie Kisyombe.
Image: RTÉ

SOCIAL DEMOCRATS ELLIE Kisyombe says she is disappointed with how her party leadership handled a review into her candidacy and added that it hurt her campaign. 

The Dublin North Inner City local election candidate said her campaign was “disrupted” and that people on the doors were confused.

In response, party co-leader Róisín Shortall has described the issue as “water under the bridge”.

The Social Democrats gave Kisyombe the green light to run under their banner only three weeks ago, following a review.

The review came after an article in The Sunday Times reported that Kisyombe, who is in the Direct Provision system, gave details in media interviews that did not match her official record.

Following the review, the Social Democrats allowed Kisyombe to run after they said she agreed to make changes to her campaign literature.

But speaking to RTÉ today from the RDS count centre, Kisyombe said the uncertainty put her at a disadvantage.

“It actually disrupted it because for the past week we’ve been on the doors, my team was great and people were kind of confused because they didn’t know what was happening. News has a way of writing things so people weren’t sure if I’m running but everyone was excited,” Kisyombe said.

“I have so much faith in Irish people that if everything was smooth it could have been a totally different issue.”

Asked whether she considered quitting, Kisyombe said she did not.

There was never a day that I thought of quitting because I knew that this was something that I had to do and there was no one who could have done this from the background that I’m coming other than myself, so there was no quitting.

“I was disappointed in the way that the party leadership treated me but that’s a story for another day,” Kisyombe. 

The candidate also said that she would remain as a public activist but would not say whether or not she would remain with the Social Democrats. 

“This isn’t a question I can answer today for many, many reasons but I’m happy that I’m coming from a strong constituency, Dublin city and I’m glad that my party colleague Gary Gannon can be elected,” she said.

PastedImage-6435 Social Democrats co-leader Roisín Shortall. Source: RTÉ

After the Kisyombe’s interview, it was immediately put to Social Democrats’ co-leader Róisín Shortall  TD that the candidate feels she was unfairly treated by the party leadership.

“I think that’s water under the bridge now at this stage,” Shortall said.

There were issues around inconsistencies that appeared in the media and comparing that to Ellie’s own accounts of how things happened. So there was a requirement by the party to review the situation. We did that, it was an internal review and that was done independently and that was resolved to everyone’s satisfaction. 

Shortall also disagreed with the contention that the uncertainty hurt Kisyombe’s campaign.

“The North Inner City is a very competitive constituency, we had a second candidate there too, Carol Deans,” Shortall said.

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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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