Sinn Féin councillor apologises for ‘untrue’ comment over FG representative

Máire Devine withdraws statement, says ‘did not intend to make light of mental health issues’

Cllr Máire Devine apologised to Fine Gael’s Danny Byrne on Monday for saying on April 12th that he “need[s] psychological help”. File photograph: Sinn Féin/Flickr

Cllr Máire Devine apologised to Fine Gael’s Danny Byrne on Monday for saying on April 12th that he “need[s] psychological help”. File photograph: Sinn Féin/Flickr

 

A Sinn Féin Dublin City Councillor has agreed to make a donation to two mental health charities and has apologised for making untrue comments about another councillor during an online council meeting last month.

Cllr Máire Devine, a registered mental health nurse, apologised to Fine Gael’s Danny Byrne on Monday for saying during a meeting on April 12th that he “need[s] psychological help”.

At the latest monthly council meeting, she said: “The comment made by me was untrue, and I shouldn’t have made comments that seemed of a personal nature about Cllr Byrne.”

Ms Devine withdrew her original statement and said she “did not intend to make light of mental health issues”. She apologised to Mr Byrne for the “unnecessary upset” her remark had caused him. Cllr Devine said she had agreed to make a financial contribution to Mr Byrne which she understands will be forwarded to mental health charities Pieta House and Jigsaw.

Her original comments were made during a discussion on social housing, during which Cllr Byrne claimed a Sinn Féin TD had objected to social housing in his own constituency. A number of Sinn Féin councillors refuted this statement as false.

Lord Mayor of Dublin Hazel Chu, of the Green Party, who was chairing the meeting, asked Mr Byrne not to single out individuals who could not defend themselves at the meeting.

Mr Byrne went on to claim the Sinn Féin party was the “biggest property owners with their 50 properties”. At this Cllr Devine gasped and retorted: “You need psychological help, Danny.” Cllr Janice Boylan, also of Sinn Féin, said Mr Byrne “needs to take that back”, while another councillor can be heard saying the remark is “disgraceful”.

Cllr Devine is a member of the board of St James’s Hospital and is a registered mental health nurse with many years of experience in acute healthcare and community settings, according to the hospital’s website. She was co-opted to Dublin City Council in October 2020 to represent the South West Inner City.