Belfast Telegraph

Gerry Adams slams allegations of bullying within Sinn Fein

By Cormac McQuinn

Gerry Adams has said he would "quit" Sinn Fein if there was a culture of bullying in the party.

And he has insisted that there is "zero tolerance" towards bullying in the party amid allegations by Sinn Fein members across several counties.

Mr Adams made the remarks in an interview where he was asked about Limerick councillor Lisa Marie Sheehy, who quit the party last month.

She claimed there is a "hostile and toxic" environment in Sinn Fein.

Mr Adams said he was "disappointed" with her remarks which, he added, are "a very serious allegation to make about people you're in a struggle with".

Mr Adams told the Limerick Leader: "There is no culture of bullying in Sinn Fein.

"We have a zero tolerance attitude to bullying."

He added: "Our due process reflects best international practice legally."

Mr Adams was also asked about a meeting in Waterford last month where between 30 and 40 disaffected Sinn Fein members gathered to share grievances over alleged bullying within the party.

"Let them put a case up, and if there is a case to answer, we will answer it," Mr Adams said.

Sinn Fein has seen a number of resignations by party members amid claims of bullying.

The most high profile was the case of former Cork East TD Sandra McLellan who refused to go forward to convention before the last general election.

She claimed to have been undermined by a small number of party members.

Yesterday it was reported how former Omagh Sinn Fein member Sorcha McAnespy warned that further resignations are imminent unless party bosses listen to the concerns being raised.

Ms McAnespy, who has since joined Fianna Fail, also complained of a "toxic" atmosphere in Sinn Fein which she claimed arose after she tried to strike alliances with unionists.

Separately, senior Fianna Fail TD John McGuinness didn't rule out the prospect of his party working with Sinn Fein after the next general election. Party leader Micheal Martin has rejected a future coalition between the parties on a number of occasions.

Carlow-Kilkenny TD Mr McGuinness told KCLR Radio that Sinn Fein could well be involved in government formation talks after the election.

He said that while their policies "are not directly compatible" with Fianna Fail, "you don't know what arrangement is going to come out of it. It's the people that decide".

Mr McGuinness said he'd be open to discussing policies and government formation with "everyone that's available in Leinster House".

Put to him that his comments seem at odds with Mr Martin's stance, Mr McGuinness said that the arrangement "need not necessarily be a coalition with anybody".

He pointed to the current arrangements where Fianna Fail is facilitating the Fine Gael-led minority government.

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