Sinn Féin TD on maternity leave quits party over ‘psychological warfare’

Violet Anne Wynne said a party colleague told her she was an ‘effing eejit’ for becoming pregnant

Sinn Féin TD Violet Anne Wynne has quit the party claiming she has been subjected to “psychological warfare”.

In a statement the Clare TD said she is currently on “some form of maternity leave” and alleged that her pregnancy had been used as a “further stick to beat me with”.

She also said she was told by a “prominent” female member of the party she was an “effing eejit” for becoming pregnant again and she was anxious relaying the news to the party.

Sinn Féin said on Friday morning the party had “worked extremely hard” to resolve what they said were constituency issues.


Sinn Féin Deputy Whip Denise Mitchell TD said: “I am so very sorry to hear of Violet-Anne’s decision this morning.

“Violet-Anne was a valued member of the Sinn Féin Oireachtas team.

“The party worked extremely hard over the last two years to resolve challenges at constituency level. That work was continuing.

“Violet-Anne has welcomed a new baby girl to her family and is currently on maternity leave. We had hoped to continue in our efforts to resolve constituency issues when she returned.

“Unfortunately, Violet-Anne has now decided to leave Sinn Féin. We wish her and her family the very best for the future.”

Ms Wynne said she was a “proud Sinn Féin TD and took my membership with the party very seriously, I believed that they were the party for United Irelanders and were the future for this island. I now have experience that I can no longer ignore that states otherwise”.

She also said she felt “pressurised” and was not given autonomy to hire her own staff.

“I learned very fast that the party do not take kindly to autonomy and those who do not follow their plans,” she said.

“The Sinn Féin TDs in Leinster House I cannot fault but they are not tasked with making decisions locally and seem to be an entirely separate entity with no power to influence. The issues I continuously faced seem to be at local level within the organisation.

“I believe that the administrative side to the party and the organisers wanted me to stand down and have been actively seeking this through gaslighting measures and what can only be described as psychological warfare.”

In her statement, Ms Wynne said she entered Leinster House “coming from the dole to the Dáil” after navigating with great difficulties and with “what many may call baggage”.

She said she was “clear and honest” about these issues.

The Clare TD said she feels she has been “isolated” and “steps have been taken to ensure that I would face greater difficulties, locally”.

She said she is “truly concerned for women who may want to come forward for Sinn Féin in the future, in Clare”.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Drivetime programme, Ms Wynne said her most recent pregnancy was unplanned and “came as a huge shock”.

“I was very anxious in relaying the information initially to people, to the party, because I was concerned what the reaction would be. When I did mention it to maybe a prominent female member at the time, I was called an ‘effing eejit’ for getting pregnant in the first place and for me it didn’t help with the anxiety I was already experiencing. It was quite shocking because I wasn’t expecting it. I was looking for a bit of support and I just felt I did not receive it.”

She said there was a conversation around her maternity leave and an opportunity for a support worker to be brought into her office. “What transpired was not what was explained to myself.” She said she had not heard from the party leader Mary Lou McDonald as of Friday evening.

She plans to continue her work as an Independent.

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times