Sinn Féin members told to stop airing their grievances in public

SF chair warns representatives they will face disciplinary action if they continue to do so

Sinn Féin TD Dessie Ellis, who was involved in a political feud in Dublin North-West. File photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

Sinn Féin TD Dessie Ellis, who was involved in a political feud in Dublin North-West. File photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

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Members of Sinn Féin in the Dublin North-West constituency have been warned they face disciplinary action if they do not stop airing their grievances in public.

A letter from Sinn Féin national chairperson Declan Kearney sent to members in the constituency in January ordered them to stop discussing internal matters on any media platform.

In a letter obtained by The Irish Times, Mr Kearney told the members: “I cannot overstate how damaging this is to the party.”

Former Sinn Féin councillor Noeleen Reilly resigned from the party on Monday after being suspended due to a feud in Dublin North-West which began online

The suspension came after she was accused of being involved a social media campaign against another councillor in the area.

Sinn Féin TD Dessie Ellis was also censured by the party for remarks he made about Ms Reilly online.

I am therefore issuing a further directive, with immediate effect, that party members are not to discuss internal party matters on any media platform

Ms Reilly has claimed she was physically assaulted by a member of the party who was not Mr Ellis. She also said she was subject to bullying campaigns by party members.

In his letter, Mr Kearney said he had warned members in September that they should desist from airing their grievances in public, but the warning had gone unheeded by some.

“I am therefore issuing a further directive, with immediate effect, that party members are not to discuss internal party matters on any media platform,” he warned.

“Party members are instructed not to engage in any direct or indirect contact or correspondence with any journalist or media outlet in relation to internal party matters.

“All party members in Dublin North-West should only have contact with the local or regional media on the basis of press office approval. Any breach of the directive will be subject to disciplinary action.”

Ms Reilly confirmed that the letter was genuine and that she had received it via email last month, but had no other comment.

“I am moving on with my life,” she said. Ms Reilly is now an Independent councillor.

Authentic letter

The letter’s authenticity was also confirmed by the Sinn Féin press office, who said it was sent at a time when the party was looking for a period of calm during the dispute in the Dublin North-West constituency.

A similar warning was issued to members of the party during a row over the Eighth Amendment.

Sinn Féin TDs Eoin Ó Broin and Jonathan O’Brien were contacted by party headquarters after they criticised comments made by Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín, who alleged that the Oireachtas committee on the Eighth Amendment was biased.

The party wrote to Mr O’Brien, Mr Ó Broin and Mr Tóibín advising them not to use social media to air criticisms of colleagues.

It advised members that the only place such issues should be raised was within parliamentary party meetings.

A meeting is scheduled to take place next week between the TDs to discuss the matter further.

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