Angry Burke says McDonald ‘stooped to new low’ with Dowdall tweet

Constituency rivals try to disassociate themselves from former Sinn Féin councillor

A screengrab of the tweet on Friday from Mary Lou McDonald which annoyed Dublin city councillor Christy Burke.

A screengrab of the tweet on Friday from Mary Lou McDonald which annoyed Dublin city councillor Christy Burke.

 

Dublin city councillor Christy Burke claimed on Sunday Mary Lou McDonald had “stooped to a new low” by tweeting a picture of the former Lord Mayor with Jonathan Dowdall.

The Sinn Féin deputy leader posted a picture of Dowdall and Burke from September 2015 on Friday night with the caption: “This terrible story of thuggery carried all day. This photo clarifies political allegiances of convicted person.”

Dowdall, a former Sinn Féin councillor, is awaiting sentence after pleading guilty earlier this week to imprisoning and torturing a man in the garage of his home. He was a Sinn Féin councillor at the time.

On Friday night the Dublin Central TD Ms McDonald screenshot a Facebook post from 2015 by Mr Burke in which he said: “Very positive meeting with my canvassers tonight. I’m delighted to welcome Jonathan Dowdall on board a very hard working man from Dublin’s north inner city.”

Mr Burke is a former Sinn Féin councillor based in Dublin Central who ran unsuccessfully in the 2016 and 2011 general elections.

Mr Burke told The Irish Times Dowdall had attended a public meeting he organised in September 2015 but he had “never seen or heard of Dowdall after that”.

“He never took part in canvassing, he never fundraised, he never donated, never knocked on a door. I don’t know where the Deputy got the idea that his allegiance was to a political opponent of Sinn Fein, ” Mr Burke said.

The Independent councillor said the deputy leader of Sinn Féin appeared to be trying to “distract or deflect” away from Dowdall’s former connection to the party.

“Mary Lou McDonald stooped to a very low status by trying to deflect and degrade. It doesn’t work with me. I’ve always been respectful to my constituency colleagues,” he said.

“The amount of people in my constituency yesterday and today who’ve met me and said they are disgusted. I’ve met republicans who have voted for the party for 20 years and will never vote for them again.”

Mr Burke added he longer considers Ms McDonald a republican after this attempt to damage him politically.

“I wouldn’t consider anybody who tries to degrade or disrespect another republican as a republican. Republicans don’t behave that way, decent people don’t behave that way, let alone republicans” he said.

Mr Burke also wrote on Facebook on Sunday morning: “I would not stoop as low as the Deputy did on social media about any individual or politician. Shame on you deputy.”

Dowdall and his father Patrick (60), both with an address at Navan Road, Dublin, admitted to falsely imprisoning Alexander Hurley by detaining him without his consent on January 15th, 2015. They also pleaded guilty to threatening to kill Hurley.

The Special Criminal court heard on Friday that Dowdall believed the victim was pretending to be a barrister and was seeking the councillor’s bank details in order to defraud him. The two men had met after Dowdall had advertised a motorbike for sale on donedeal.ie.

Dowdall resigned from Sinn Féin and his city council seat in February 2015.

In a statement on Friday, Ms McDonald said she welcomed “the conviction of Jonathan Dowdall in court today”.

“Jonathan Dowdall left Sinn Féin some years ago. He subsequently worked with, and supported, a political opponent of Sinn Féin in the Dublin Central constituency.”