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Sinn Féin's Dublin chair steps down after row over candidate selection

Eamonn Nolan temporarily stepped down from his role following a row over the addition of a second candidate in Dublin North-West. The matter is now subject of an internal investigation.

Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 15.03.58 Sinn Féin councillors Noeleen Reilly and Cathleen Carney Boud were at the centre of a row which has seen the party's Dublin chair temporarily step down. Source: Sinn Féin

A ROW OVER the selection of a Sinn Féin candidate to run in the general election has resulted in the party’s Dublin chairperson temporarily stepping down while an internal inquiry is carried out, TheJournal.ie has learned.

Eamonn Nolan, the chair of Sinn Féin’s Dublin Cúige (province), stepped down from his role in recent weeks. It follows controversy over the selection process for a candidate to run alongside sitting TD Dessie Ellis in Dublin North-West at the next election.

Sinn Féin councillor Noeleen Reilly complained to party headquarters after failing to win the nomination of her own cumann, of which Nolan is a member.

The party subsequently launched an internal inquiry and Nolan stepped down in order to prevent any perceived conflict of interest. Attempts to reach Nolan were unsuccessful.

A well-placed Sinn Féin source explained that Nolan stepped down following the row over who would be the party’s second candidate in Dublin North-West. A party spokesperson subsequently confirmed this was the case.

It’s understood party members in the constituency favour the selection of Finglas-based councillor Cathleen Carney Boud as the second Sinn Féin candidate.

They believe her presence in the Santry and Whitehall areas would give the party a better chance of taking a second seat in the three-seater. Ellis is seen as stronger in areas like Ballymun.

‘Wise thing to do’

However, Ballymun-based councillor Reilly has also been vying for the selection. Having failed to win the nomination of her own Ballymun cumann, she subsequently complained to headquarters and an internal inquiry was launched.

“There was a complaint made and an inquiry initiated. It is winding up in the next week or so,” a Sinn Féin spokesperson confirmed.

Neither Carney Boud nor Reilly had responded to TheJournal.ie at the time of publication. The Sinn Féin source who initially confirmed the story spoke on condition of anonymity.

They said that Nolan felt he should step down temporarily in order to avoid any perceived conflict of interest between his role as chair of Dublin Sinn Féin and a member of the Ballymun cumann. They added:

He thought it was the wise thing to do, to stand aside. But he should be coming back. It’s more or less sorted now and everyone is satisfied.

While the inquiry is still ongoing and expected to report shortly, it is now expected that Sinn Féin will select Ellis and Carney Boud as its general election candidates in Dublin North West.

The selection convention takes place on 15 May.

Sinn Féin policy means that in every constituency where the party is running two candidates, one of them must female, with the exception of Donegal where incumbent TDs Padraig MacLochlainn and Pearse Doherty are running.

Nolan was elected as the party’s Dublin chairperson in January and holds the post until next year.

Sinn Féin representatives in Dublin would not be drawn on the issue when contacted today. Strategist and Clondalkin-based councillor Eoin Ó Broin said: “I couldn’t comment on that, it’s an internal party matter.”

Another party source in the capital confirmed that they expected Nolan to return as chairperson within the next week.

- additional reporting from Nicky Ryan

Read: The Sinn Féin councillor who resigned and then backtracked has now resigned again

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Hugh O'Connell

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