Diversity of views not tolerated in Sinn Fein, claims Peadar Toibin
Former Sinn Fein member Peadar Toibin has taken another swipe at the party, saying that a "diversity of views is not tolerated".
In leaflets issued to his constituents, Mr Toibin described the role of TDs in major parties as "clones".
The Meath West TD left Sinn Fein last month after being suspended because his strong pro-life views went against the pro-choice mandate of the party.
The suspension was activated after he defied the party and voted against the legislation to allow abortion services in Ireland.
Mr Toibin is now looking to ramp up support for his new political movement - with his first public meeting in Navan tonight.
"Over the last two years I was held back and significantly prevented in fighting for the people of Meath," he said.
"It has become increasingly clear that on a whole range of issues all the main political parties seek to inhabit the same space in time.
"Diversity of views is not tolerated and TDs are forced to become clones simply reading press statements and not thinking for themselves.
"I ask you to join with me to build a new movement throughout Ireland, one that fights for unity, economic justice and protecting the vulnerable."
On November 1, Mr Toibin was handed a six-month suspension by Sinn Fein, and two weeks later he announced he would be leaving the party.
At the time, Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald said it was "with regret" that she heard of Mr Toibin's resignation, adding he was "a valued member of the party".
"Sinn Fein is home to a diversity of views.
"We debate and our members vote on policy at our ard fheis," she said.
"All Sinn Fein elected representatives are bound by the decisions of the ard fheis," she added.