Belfast Telegraph

SF clouncillor claims 'bullying within party almost drove him to suicide'

By Philip Ryan

A Sinn Fein councillor has revealed that he considered taking his own life due to bullying within the party.

Tipperary councillor Seamus 'Seamie' Morris is the second party member this week to publicly raise concerns about bullying within the party.

In a statement to the Tipperary Star, Mr Morris said he had been a "victim of an intense, nine-month campaign of harassment and slander".

He said the ordeal had taken him to a "very dark place" where he even "considered ending it all". "It can be a very lonely place indeed," he added.

Mr Morris said he had "endured nine months of hell", which resulted in Sinn Fein seeking to remove him from its local branch. The councillor claimed to have been subjected to a "whispering campaign" after he had clashed with Sinn Fein officials over a local dispute.

He said Sinn Fein wanted only "party disciples" in the organisation and did not appreciate "free-speaking" members.

A spokesperson for the party said: "We are not aware of any whispering campaign against Seamie. We are currently dealing with the issues that he has raised with us and Seamie has participated in that process.

"Seamie remains a Sinn Féin member and councillor."

Mr Morris said he was speaking out in support of Limerick Sinn Fein councillor Lisa Marie Sheehy, who quit the party earlier this week amid bullying claims.

He praised Ms Sheehy and said he did not want to see her isolated for speaking out about her treatment within the party.

"The loss of councillor Lisa Marie Sheehy is, in my opinion, unforgivable and makes me wonder has the party the skills to conduct these reviews/investigations, particularly ones that have claims of bullying," he said.

On Tuesday Ms Sheehy said she had been forced to leave the party after she was "undermined, bullied and humiliated".

Mr Morris and Ms Sheehy are among a growing number of Sinn Fein councillors quitting the party over bullying allegations.

There have also been allegations of bullying by councillors in counties Kildare, Tipperary, Cavan, Cork and Wicklow. However, Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams has insisted his party does not have an issue with internal bullying.

Belfast Telegraph

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