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Sinn Fein to debate membership policies after 'bullying' row

By Niall O'Connor

Sinn Fein will this week debate a motion calling for an "urgent review" of its membership policies as party bosses continue to grapple with allegations of a bullying culture.

The clar for the ard fheis contains just a single motion that points to some of the difficulties that the party has endured in relation to losing members over alleged bullying and harassment.

"This ard fheis calls for the ard chomhairle to initiate an urgent review (into) the current membership policies including recruitment, education and retention of new members, with a view to protecting the integrity of the party and the commitment of its members," the motion from the Cork City cumann states.

"That this review should consider staged membership or associate membership, probationary periods, rights and responsibilities and allow for participation from cumainn and the wider membership. The objectives of this review would be to create a more robust party, inclusive of all, where membership rights and responsibilities are clearly defined, making the party fit for purpose in our new and dynamic, ever changing Irish society."

Sinn Fein sources say the party hierarchy is keen to avoid any focus being placed on the issue of bullying at the ard fheis, which kicks off in the RDS on Friday.

Party president Gerry Adams is also expected to outline a timeline for his retirement - which will effectively kick off the competition to succeed him. TDs Pearse Doherty, Eoin O Broin and Mary Lou McDonald in particular are the favourites to succeed him.

Belfast Telegraph

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