Galway councillor quits Sinn Féin citing ‘unacceptable behaviour’

Departure comes days after Senator Trevor Ó’Clochartaigh, also from Galway, quit

The resignation of Cllr Gabriel Cronnelly from Sinn Féin comes days after a high-profile Galway Senator also quit the party amid allegations of bullying. Image: Facebook.

The resignation of Cllr Gabriel Cronnelly from Sinn Féin comes days after a high-profile Galway Senator also quit the party amid allegations of bullying. Image: Facebook.

 

Sinn Féin has lost another elected representative after a county councillor in Galway resigned and accused some in the party of “unacceptable behaviour”.

The resignation of Gabriel Cronnelly comes days after a high-profile Galway Senator also quit the party amid allegations of bullying. Trevor Ó’Clochartaigh last week announced he was leaving the party with immediate effect.

He cited inaction by the party to his complaints on disciplinary matters as well as “serous concerns over the future of the party in the constituency”.

Sinn Féin claimed the resignation was motivated by his fears he would not win the party’s Galway West selection convention.

This has been rejected by Mr Ó Clochartaigh, and Mr Cronnelly, who is based in Athenry, also said his move has nothing to do with selection conventions.

“I am awfully disappointed at the way Sinn Féin leadership have refused to address the concerns of so many decent members here in Galway, in relation to unacceptable behaviour by a small group of people,” he said in a statement.

“It is very hard to have faith in a party which preaches one thing publicly, but fails to live up to true Republican ideals itself.

“Sinn Féin has a constitution and a code of ethics which are great documents on paper, but when it comes to calling people to account who are treating others in an unprofessional manner, the rule book goes out the window.”

A number of members have left Sinn Féin in recent times as a result of internal issue. The party has, for its part, strongly denied any suggestion of an atmosphere of bullying. It has said that when disputes have arisen, the party has gone to considerable lengths to try to resolve them.

‘Reconsider’

While confirming he will now be an Independent councillor, Mr Cronnelly did not rule out rejoining the party at some stage in the future.

“This was not an easy decision and was not by any means taken lightly. Should a time arise in the future that circumstances within the party and the current situation may differ, then I may possibly reconsider my current position.

“There are so many good people in Sinn Féin who want to make a real difference, that to let a small group of individuals who are putting themselves first in my eyes just is not acceptable.

“This has nothing to do with selection conventions because leadership have known about these problems for a long time. I was one of those who wrote to head office in April to express my concerns. The review that leadership did in the area did not improve things and made things worse rather than better.”

Last month, Tipperary councillor Séamus Morris resigned from Sinn Féin over a long-running dispute which has drawn the spotlight on alleged incidents of bullying in the party.

In September, one of the party’s youngest representatives in the State, Co Limerick councillor Lisa Marie Sheehy, left after she said the party did not take her complaints of bullying seriously.

There have also been resignations or expulsions in counties Cavan, Westmeath, Kilkenny, Kildare and Wicklow.

The most damaging row occurred in Cork East, with sitting TD Sandra McLellan being subject to treatment which supporters claimed was bullying.

She decided not to stand again for election as a result of what had occurred.