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Tensions escalate between Tóibín and Sinn Féin over 'threat' to leave Leinster House office

Tóibín left the party in November but his office remains beside other Sinn Féin TDs .

Image: Sam Boal

TENSIONS HAVE ESCALATED between Peadar Tóibín and Sinn Féin over what the Meath TD claims was a “threat” against him to leave his office in Leinster House.

Tóibín resigned from Sinn Féin in November after the party suspended him for six months for voting against abortion legislation in the Dáil.

Since resigning, he has gone on to found his own party – Aontú – which has recruited former Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil members to run as candidates in the upcoming elections.

He has since requested to be moved from his current office in Leinster House due to “souring” relationships with former Sinn Féin colleagues and said today he arrived in to find storage boxes had been left in his office.

He said he did not know who had placed the boxes in his room.

“I have an office on a floor in Leinster House in which a large number of Sinn Féin TDs have an office,” he told TheJournal.ie.

“And since I was forced out of the party in November, I have made a number of requests to facilities management in Leinster House for a new office because obviously relationships have been souring.

“They would have no reason to come into the office at all and no one could come in without permission so nobody should have come in with the boxes,” he said.

Following a complaint to facilities management today he said Sinn Féin’s political manager in the Dáil then came into his office, where Tóibín felt he was “threatened”.

“This morning I arrived to two boxes that were put into the office, they went in and put them in the office and then the [official] came into the office roaring and effing and blinding.

“The [official] came in and advised me to ‘fuck off the floor, and fuck out of the office before something happens’.

“I repeated the sentence back to him saying what do you mean ‘before something happens’ and he didn’t clarify,” he said.

“Nobody should enter another TD’s office without permission – there are files and documents on tables and desks, there would be laptops and computers and materials on walls.

“Anyone working in any office of this country should be able to do so without any aggression.”

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Tensions with his former party colleagues have become “increasingly uncomfortable” in recent months, with Tóibin citing a growing public interest in Aontú as the reason.

“One of the reasons why it’s got sour over the last couple of weeks is the growth of Aontú - we had over 600 people at launch recently and we have 70 people standing for us.

“In general it’s Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil members that are coming to Aontú and we’re standing 16 or 17 candidates in the North of Ireland where Sinn Féin would have had strengths previously.”

In a statement to TheJournal.ie, a spokesperson for Sinn Féin said the incident was a “private conversation”. 

“Peadar Tóibín has not been a member of Sinn Féin since November last year, yet he is still on the Sinn Féin floor in Leinster House,” they said. 

“A party official today asked him to move off the floor. This was a private conversation.

“This issue is not uncommon in other parties when members leave. The party has no further comment to make.”

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