SF shambles: Shenannigans of the Sinners and the Shinners

Sinn Féin's Galway West candidate for the next general election, Mairead Farrell (Galway City East, centre), with fellow Galway councillors, Dermot Connolly (Ballinasloe), Mark Lohan (Galway City Central), and Cathal Ó Conchúir (Galway City West), with former West Tyrone MP, Pat Doherty. Inset: Trevor Ó Clochartaigh.
Sinn Féin's Galway West candidate for the next general election, Mairead Farrell (Galway City East, centre), with fellow Galway councillors, Dermot Connolly (Ballinasloe), Mark Lohan (Galway City Central), and Cathal Ó Conchúir (Galway City West), with former West Tyrone MP, Pat Doherty. Inset: Trevor Ó Clochartaigh.

Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column by Dara Bradley

We always knew the Shinners were fond of a row, but yowl, they’ve gone nuclear with the infighting in Galway West.

Galway County Councillor Gabe Cronnelly followed Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh out the gap, resigning from the party, and already there is talk of further local defections on the horizon. Watch this space.

Sinn Féin wants a United Ireland but it can’t even unite members of its local Comhairle Ceantar!

Trevor is flighty, and previously left Labour to join the Shinners, something that didn’t endear him to hard-line Republicans or the Comrades he left behind.

But SF’s attempts to paint his latest ship-jumping as Trevor having itchy feet or running scared of rival, City Councillor Mairéad Farrell, is somewhat disingenuous.

Trevor might not have beaten Maireád at selection convention – Bradley Bytes understands the vote was too close to call with all sorts of suggestions of ‘paper members’. And there’s no doubt that the sitting senator losing at convention to Maireád (who he beat at the previous convention, incidentally), would have left Trevor with much egg on his face.

That’s only part of the story, though.

In April of this year, Trevor and 22 other active members of SF (including sitting councillors, former chairs of the Galway West Comhairle Ceantair and a former Director of Elections) wrote to party president, Gerry Adams, and his lieutenant, Mary Lou McDonald.

Trevor and Co were concerned with the “complete dysfunctionality” of SF in Galway West, where the party was in “complete and utter disarray” and “extremely divided”. A group within the party was “operating in a completely autonomous, autocratic manner, with their own agenda”, which was “seriously jeopardising” chances of a Dáil seat.

They said “there is little or no cohesive communication” between elected members in Galway West. “There is in fact hostility, distrust, and serious tension between some,” they told the party leadership. Members were “angered” by some issues; felt “excluded and isolated” by other actions.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.