herald

Monday 5 December 2016

SF worker steps down to defect to Burke campaign

politics

A FORMER Sinn Fein councillor has begun working on Lord Mayor Christy Burke's general election campaign, as he gears up to run in the same constituency as Mary Lou McDonald.

Jonathan Dowdall, who was elected as a city councillor representing the north inner city last May, resigned from the party in February.

In a bizarre back-and-forth, he resigned and then backtracked before ultimately stepping down from the council and the party simultaneously.

However, last night he said that he could not comment on his reasons for defecting but said that he is now delighted to back independent Mr Burke in his Leinster House bid in the four-seater constituency.

"For me it was never about the seat or the title, it was about working for the people in the north inner city," Mr Dowdall told the Herald.

"At the end of the day I did run [for the council] on a Sinn Fein card and I wouldn't let it be said that I took the seat because I'm not about that."

Though he will be backing Mr Burke instead of Mary Lou McDonald, the businessman said that he retained "the height of respect" for the Sinn Fein deputy leader.

"She is a very hardworking woman and has been a friend of mine for years. This isn't a personal thing against her," he said.

His decision to work alongside Mr Burke is based on their shared ideals, he explained.

"Christy is a very honourable man. We're very like-minded in our approach. He always puts the community first," he added.

"I believe that the people of Dublin Central need people who are focused on them and mainly them.

"He has given his whole life to the inner city, I'm only honoured to help him. What I want to do is what I set out to do, which is work hard for the people in the area I grew up in."

The city's first citizen said he was "delighted" to have Mr Dowdall on board, as he was a committed local community activist.

"I have a great team behind me and for me it's a case of the more the merrier," he told the Herald.

Mr Dowdall joined Mr Burke's team of campaigners and inner city activists at an event in the Mansion House this week.

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein looks set to hold the Mayor's office in two Dublin local authority areas for next year's centenary celebrations.

scuppered

Cllr Sarah Holland was elected to take over the mantle of her party colleague Fintan Wharfield in South County Dublin yesterday.

The Belfast-born councillor represents the Rathfarnham ward on the county council.

Sinn Fein officially have also announced Criona Ni Dhailigh as their nominee in Monday's city council election.

Last year it was agreed that Sinn Fein would take office for the term beginning in June and running into 2016.

However, a recent heave by some independents could see that deal scuppered.

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