Sinn Fein accepts councillors’ motion against ‘draconian’ restrictions in workplace
There was a rare moment of dissent at the Sinn Fein ard fheis when councillors voted to lift a “draconian” ban on councillors working for the party.
Under Sinn Fein rules, councillors must give up working for the party or other Sinn Fein elected representatives if they are elected or co-opted onto a local authority.
A motion placed by branches from Tipperary and Dublin called on the party to remove the prohibition and acknowledge that many councillors “have other means of salaried employment in addition to their council pay and are free to continue with that employment”.
Clondalkin councillor Mark Ward, who was co-opted onto South Dublin County Council when Eoin O Broin won a Dail seat, told delegates he struggled because of the existing regime.
“I’m a father of three and I’ve a responsibility to provide for my family. The irony wasn’t lost on me that while I was on the picket line in solidarity with nurses, fire services, Tesco and Dunnes’ workers, supporting their worker’s right that my worker’s rights weren’t being protected,” he said.
Sorcha Nic Cormaic, a councillor from Dundrum, said the party was be “a victim of its own daft policy”. Sinn Fein’s ardcomhairle had recommended that the issue be referred to it for consideration but in a very unusual move a major of delegates voted that the motion be accepted.
Gerry Adams has sought to play down bullying allegations within the party, saying incidents highlighted in the media were “local disputes”.