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Sinn Féin insists it doesn't have a bullying problem

Party whip Aengus Ó Snodaigh was responding to more allegations of bullying in Sinn Féin.

Dail Back From Holidays Sinn Féin TDs Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Pearse Doherty, Gerry Adams and Padraig MacLochlainn Laura Hutton / Photocall Ireland Laura Hutton / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

SINN FÉIN’S AENGUS Ó Snodaigh has insisted the party does not have a problem with bullying in the wake of a number of controversies that have emerged in recent weeks.

He was responding to a story in today’s Herald where former Sinn Féin councillor Jonathan Dowdall says he quit the party over bullying.

“I don’t believe there is any problem with bullying in the party,” Ó Snodaigh, a TD for Dublin South-Central, insisted today.

I think Sinn Féin has put in place a robust mechanism to investigate any complaint whether it’s bullying or otherwise.

1185681_281142455381513_431111918_n-2-310x415 Jonathan Dowdall Jonathan Dowdall Jonathan Dowdall

Dowdall, a former north inner city councillor, quit politics earlier this year. He had previously resigned last September claiming he had been the subject of “negative rumours” from a small element within the party.

Dowdall later backtracked before then resigning from Sinn Féin and the council for good in February. He has since begun working for former Sinn Féin councillor Christy Burke, who is running for the Dáil.

This latest story comes on foot of the Cork East controversy where Sinn Féin expelled councillor Kieran McCarthy and suspended councillor Melissa Mullane with claims that Mullane had engaged in “uncomradely behaviour” towards sitting TD Sandra McLellan.

Mullane is appealing the decision while McCarthy said today he was contemplating legal action.

sf-cllrs-2-2-2 Kieran McCarthy and Melissa Mullane were sanctioned by Sinn Féin last week Sinn Féin / Facebook Sinn Féin / Facebook / Facebook

Ó Snodaigh, who is the Sinn Féin whip, said that any allegation of bullying in the party is taken “very seriously”.

He said he had not seen the latest story about Dowdall, but added:

Jonathan Dowdall quit the party, as far as I know, on health grounds but I didn’t know Jonathan that well. He did some work for my area and he knew the party was open to any type of complaint. If there is an issue it will dealt with.

Abuse victim Maíria Cahill has also had to contend with bullying and trolling on social media by people purporting to be Sinn Féin supporters.

She took a dim view of Ó Snodaigh’s claims today:

Asked about the Cork East controversy, Ó Snodaigh said a “robust” investigation took place and said Sinn Féin is willing to take action against people whom complaints are made against.

Inkgate Political Scandals Aengus Ó Snodaigh Laura Hutton / Photocall Ireland Laura Hutton / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

“I am not going to comment on the exact details of the investigation [or] the charges that were looked at by the party team,” he insisted.

“Twenty-one days from the time the councillor was expelled it may be appropriate for us to answer the charges that have been made by those who were expelled or have left the party.”

Ó Snodaigh added that his Dáil colleague, Sandra McLellan, is “happy enough” to move on from the controversy and look towards the general election.

Read: Expelled Sinn Féin councillor could sue the party

Previously: Councillor quits Sinn Féin over ‘negative rumours from small elements’

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