Oscar Wilde once said that to lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune, but to lose two seemed like carelessness.
Which brings us to the topic of the missing Sinn Féin councillors. In the 2014 southern and northern local elections, Sinn Féin won an impressive combined tally of 264 seats. However in the past three years they have managed to lose 29 of them. That is over 10% of those elected.
The figure for those elected in south is even starker. 22 of those elected have left or been thrown out. That is almost 14%. Now, at one extreme you have the convicted water boarder Sinn Féin Councillor Jonathan Dowdall, who was eventually allowed leave, but at the other you have people who claim to have been basically intimidated out of the party.
The latest episode in all of this was a lengthy statement from Westmeath councillor Paul Hogan who claims that he has been subjected to a prolonged and intense campaign of vilification, innuendo and threats. All of this based on a personal issue which none of us really has any business being pruriently involved in.
Hogan’s statement refers to 80 instances of bullying and intimidation, including having been summoned to what he describes as a “kangaroo court” to respond to what he claims were “vile allegations” against him. I heard some of them while I was still working for the shinners and am ashamed to say that I gave them credence. Such is the manner in which these Stalinist tactics operate. No doubt there are people who believe in the stuff being said about me now.
Who else do we have. Well in the week before Paul Hogan made his statement, Councillor Seamie Morris from Tipperary claimed that he had been basically forced out by what he described as a “rogue element” which operated from “darkened rooms.” Charming. I have seen evidence of it myself.
Councillor Sorcha O’Neill and other members of Kildare Sinn Féin were forced out in April, again over claims of bullying and intimidation. The father of a Galway councillor Maireád Farrell claimed that he had been threatened over differences involving an election nomination.
And there are many more such tales, including the circumstances that led to the departure of Cork East TD Sandra McLellan who had the temerity to point out the absurdity and indeed hypocrisy of the enforcement of the handing over of money to the party. Hypocritical as both she, and I in my book, pointed out, it is not actually applied across the board.
So there we have it. An internal party regime based on intimidation, the demanding of peoples wages, and which seems totally unable to deal with “dissent” of any nature.
Would you like to live in a country controlled by these people?