Sinn Féin has no bullying problem, TD insists

But Eoin Ó Broin says some party members ‘are finding it difficult to adjust’ to influx of youth

Some Sinn Féin members  who went into electoral politics have found it ‘much more difficult’ than they anticipated, said party TD Eoin Ó Broin. Photograph: Alan Betson

Some Sinn Féin members who went into electoral politics have found it ‘much more difficult’ than they anticipated, said party TD Eoin Ó Broin. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

Sinn Féin does not have a bullying problem and is not a cult, one of its most senior TDs has insisted.

Speaking on the Irish Times Inside Politics Podcast, the party’s housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin said Sinn Féin had to deal with and discuss the number of councillors resigning from the party.

However he stressed there was a “huge difference” between that and claiming there was a culture of bullying within the party.

“There are some people who went into the role of elected representatives and found it was much more difficult that they originally thought,” Mr Ó Brion said.

“That is possibly our fault for not explaining to people fully enough, that is possibly our fault for managing those tensions.

“We also have really good republicans, really long-standing republicans who for very long periods of time were the only Shinner in the village. Now that the party has grown, and there are younger people there, they are finding it difficult to adjust.

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“So do I think there are organisational issues that have led to be the resignations? Yes we absolutely do but that is not to same to suggest that we have a culture of bullying or we treat people badly. I do not accept that.”

Ten Sinn Féin councillors in six counties have resigned from the party over the past three years, or are in dispute with it, amid various claims of bullying, “sham investigations”, whispering campaigns, and diktats from “middle management” prescribing what is said and determining how votes are taken.

Mr O’Broin said there were clear procedures in the party that had been used effectively by others to raise concerns.

He knew many of the individuals and constituencies involved but denied there was intimidation ongoing in the party.

The Dublin Mid-West TD also responded to criticism levelled against him by Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin.

Mr Martin strongly criticised comments attributed to Mr Ó Broin about the killing of Tom Oliver, who was murdered in 1991 by the IRA.

Mr Ó Broin was reported to have supported comments by his party leader Gerry Adams who claimed his murderers should not be prosecuted.

Mr Ó Broin insisted that was not an accurate reflection of what he or Mr Adams had said, accusing Mr Martin of deliberately misrepresenting him.

The Sinn Féin TD said Mr Oliver’s family had a right to know what happened and a right to pursue justice through the courts.

Mr Ó Broin said Mr Martin had lied when trying to suggest he said otherwise, and claimed he considered taking action against him.