Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein TD 'was approached about getting someone shot'

A councillor in the Republic of Ireland who quit Sinn Fein over alleged bullying told party chiefs she was left "black and blue" following an assault by a woman close to TD Dessie Ellis.

Noeleen Reilly also made claims that a supporter of Mr Ellis asked the former IRA bomb-maker to arrange to have somebody shot.

In an extraordinary complaint filed before she resigned from Sinn Fein, she alleged Gerry Adams and Mary Lou McDonald did not respond when she alerted them to concerns for her personal safety.

The letter details what Ms Reilly describes as "violence, corruption and bullying" in Sinn Fein.

She quit the party yesterday after 17 years, saying she went up "against the wrong people and this was never a battle I was going to win".

Party headquarters was quick to refute the claims, issuing a statement from another councillor, Cathleen Carney Boud, in which she claimed to be "the victim of an orchestrated online bully campaign" at the hands of Ms Reilly.

The bitter dispute in the Dublin North West constituency poses a major problem for Ms McDonald days ahead of her official elevation to Sinn Fein president.

Ms Reilly is at least the 15th public representative to leave the party due to a dispute in recent years.

She refused to elaborate on her resignation statement yesterday - but it's understood she has outlined her issues with the party in a document.

The Ballymun representative claims that Mr Ellis and others "have done their utmost to get me to leave the party".

She details the alleged assault at a Naomh Fionnbarra GAA club in Cabra in March 2016 after which she was left "black and blue".

"This was an unprovoked attack from behind…" she says, adding that a person in the party later told her it would be dealt with.

Instead, Ms Reilly said people in the party, including Mr Ellis, "tried to justify my assault, which I just found so disgusting and hurtful".

She claimed that a photograph of her alleged attacker with Mary Lou McDonald was published on Twitter four weeks after the incident.

A Sinn Fein spokesperson said Ms Reilly was told "on numerous occasions" to report the alleged incident to Gardai.

However, she denies ever being advised to make a formal complaint.

In her letter, Ms Reilly also says: "For the best part of two years I have not spoken to the media in order to protect the party on this matter.

"If the public knew that a Sinn Fein TD was lying about the violent assault of a councillor, I believe that his position as an elected representative would be untenable," she wrote.

At one point in the lengthy correspondence, Ms Reilly claims that Dessie Ellis "told party members" that an individual linked to the constituency dispute, "approached him and wanted someone shot".

"I have no idea if this is true but this is what he advised members and they are willing to come forward."

In light of her resignation from the party, Sinn Fein called on Ms Reilly to step down as a councillor and hand "the Sinn Fein Dublin City Council seat back to the party".

In her resignation statement, Ms Reilly said she had suffered "verbal abuse", "total isolation" and a "smear campaign".

She insisted she will remain as a councillor in the constituency.

Belfast Telegraph

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