Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has denied claims TD Sandra McLellan is considering joining the Independent Alliance.
Ms McLellan has decided not to run for Sinn Féin in Cork East after allegations of bullying.
Reports had suggested she met with Independent TD John Halligan to discuss joining the Independent Alliance.
Speaking this morning, Mr Adams said: “It is my position and I have been very clear about this she should have contested the convention. I understand why she didn’t.
“I am still disappointed that she didn’t. On this story she did tell me she was in a very brief informal conversation with John Halligan who raised the issue of her joining this Independent Alliance and she told me she had never any intention of doing so.”
Ms McLellan pulled out of the selection convention for the party in Cork East claiming she had been bullied.
Reports claimed she was scared to leave Sinn Féin and was under intimidation within the party.
Mr Adams said he had not spoken to the TD about that claim but would in due course.
He said: “There clearly are difficulties in the area which are entirely local difficulties and the party at all levels has to work to ensure that there is no recurrence on this.”
The speculation follows a lengthy period of turmoil for Sinn Féin in Cork East, including the expulsion of Cobh-based Cllr Kieran McCarthy in July after a review of party structures in the constituency.
Cllr McCarthy’s expulsion came amid reports that he had been highly critical of Ms McLellan’s performance as a TD.
He accused the party of “stabbing him in the back” when he was expelled.
The expulsion led to the resignation of a number of Sinn Féin members in Cobh, with many supporting Cllr McCarthy as an Independent candidate in Cork East.
Councillor Pat Buckley will now contest the Cork East constituency for the party.