Ex-Green councillor joins Sinn Féín


Cork-based former Green Party Councillor Chris O’Leary formally joined Sinn Féin today.

Mr O’Leary said this morning he had decided to join Sinn Féin because of the party’s stance on job creation and investment in communities, action on anti-social behaviour and drugs and its opposition to Nama and public service cutbacks

“I have come to the conclusion that joining Sinn Féin is the best way I can contribute to building the genuine political alternative our city needs,” he said.

Sinn Féin vice-president Mary Lou McDonald said Mr O’Leary will “reinforce what was already a strong team on Cork City Council, where our party doubled its representation in the 2009 elections”.

Mr O’Leary originally joined the Green Party in the early 1990s and was co-opted to Cork City Council in 2002 to replace Dan Boyle, who was elected to the Dáil for the Greens that year.

He won a second term as a Green Party councillor in the local elections of 2004, with a first-preference vote of 9.54 per cent. He ran unsuccessfully for the Greens in the 2004 elections to the European Parliament.

A graduate of UCC, he was Mr Boyle’s campaign manager for the 2002 general election but contested the nomination with him in the 2007 poll. While Mr Boyle was selected for the Cork South-Central ticket again, Mr O’Leary ran in the North-Central constituency.

Neither of them was successful, although Dan Boyle, who is Green Party chairman, was subsequently nominated to the Seanad by then-taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

Mr O’Leary, whose brother Don was elected to Cork City Council for Sinn Féin in the 1999 local elections, works full-time as a project manager in a Community Development Project on the city’s north side and has been involved in anti-poverty work for many years.

Mr O’Leary has also spent time working on a voluntary basis in Latin America, principally in the Amazon region.