Defecting councillor says SF has become directionless in South

Tue, Jan 12, 2010, 00:00

FORMER SINN Féin councillor Killian Forde has said he left the party because he believes it has become increasingly staid, unresponsive and directionless in the South over the past few years.

Mr Forde was unveiled as the Labour Party’s latest recruit by leader Eamon Gilmore in Dublin yesterday. Mr Gilmore described the 39-year-old north Dubliner as a politician of considerable ability with a real commitment to the community he represents.

There is a strong likelihood Mr Forde will stand as Labour’s second candidate, alongside Tommy Broughan, in the three-seater Dublin North East constituency in the next general election.

The trigger for his defection from Sinn Féin came last month when, as head of Dublin City Council’s finance committee, he defied the Sinn Féin whip and voted in favour of the Budget.

On his reasons for leaving Sinn Féin, he said Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness had been very strong political leaders for Sinn Féin but their focus has been too much on the North.

Mr Forde is the third Dublin city councillor to leave Sinn Féin since last summer’s local elections, following the resignations of Christy Burke (Dublin Central) and Louise Minihan (Ballyfermot). His resignation is seen as a big blow to the party in the South.

Sinn Féin’s chairman in Donaghmede, Micheál Mac Donncha, described the defection as an “opportunist career move”.

“Having accused Sinn Féin of moving to the centre he is now in a party that he admits is to the right of Sinn Féin,” he said.

The party reiterated its call for him to resign his seat.

Mr Forde played a prominent role in Sinn Féin’s campaign during both Lisbon referendums. He was asked yesterday if he was back-tracking on his strong public opposition to the treaty.

“I felt that Lisbon Two was better than Lisbon One. I still personally voted No. I believe there’s room within the Labour Party for such views.”