Sinn Féin chooses Cllr Pat Buckley to run in Cork East

Sitting TD Sandra McLellan announced she will not run for party in next general election

Sinn Féin members have chosen Cllr Pat Buckley to run for the party in the next general election in Cork East, after the party's sitting TD Sandra McLellan announced that she would not be standing.

Cllr Buckley had put his name forward for convention, but he was selected unanimously as the party’s candidate on Sunday after Ms McLellan’s announcement that she was not running .

Speaking after the convention in Little Island, which was attended by about 30 delegates, Cllr Buckley said that he would be fighting the election with a united Sinn Féin party behind him.

He said controversy regarding the expulsion of Cllr Kieran McCarthy, the suspension and re-admission of Cllr Melissa Mullane and the resignation of Cllr June Murphy was now all in the past.


“Thankfully all that has been dealt with and we have a fantastic team,” he said, adding that he enjoyed a good relationship with Ms McLellan and was confident of holding her seat for the party.

In a statement posted on her Facebook page on Saturday, Ms McLellan confirmed she had informed the Sinn Féin leadership last Thursday that she was not going to seek a nomination to run in Cork East.

“I was asked to reconsider my position on this, which I undertook to do. However, I have decided not to contest the upcoming election for Sinn Féin,” she said.

“Over the period I have served as a TD, my efforts were consistently and persistently undermined by a small number in the constituency that called themselves members of Sinn Féin.”

Ms McLellan said that she was not prepared to “risk this for another term” and therefore would not be putting her name before the Sinn Féin Cork East selection convention.

“I did everything in my power to provide good representation in both the constituency and Leinster House,” said Ms McLellan, who said she will continue to work as a TD until the end of the Dáil term.

“It has been an honour to represent the people of Youghal and East Cork as a Sinn Féin TD over the last number of years,” she said, thanking family, friends and the members of Sinn Féin who stood by her.

Ms McLellan, who was first elected in 2011, could not be contacted by The Irish Times for comment about her claim that some members of Sinn Féin had sought to undermine her as a TD.


Her announcement follows a period of turmoil for Sinn Féin in Cork East, including the expulsion of Cobh-based Cllr Kieran McCarthy 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.

However, he responded by accusing 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 now supporting Cllr McCarthy as an Independent candidate in Cork East.

Among those who supported Cllr Buckley at the convention was Cllr Melissa Mullane, who was suspended but subsequently re-admitted to the party.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times