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SF's Cullinane slapped down over 'Up the RA' rally comment

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David Cullinane’s remarks came as he celebrated being re-elected but he was not in the line-up unveiled by Pearse Doherty

David Cullinane’s remarks came as he celebrated being re-elected but he was not in the line-up unveiled by Pearse Doherty

David Cullinane’s remarks came as he celebrated being re-elected but he was not in the line-up unveiled by Pearse Doherty

Senior Sinn Fein TD David Cullinane has been excluded from the party's main negotiating team to form a government.

It comes after his "Up The 'Ra" remarks at a late-night celebration last Sunday.

Mr Cullinane, a frontbench spokesperson and Ard Chomhairle member, has defended saying "up the 'Ra" at an event marking his re-election to the Dail in Waterford.

In a video from a post-election rally, Mr Cullinane said: "Up the Republic, Up the 'Ra. Tiocfaidh ar La."

He was addressing party supporters after being re-elected to the Dail for a third term.

Before he made the comments he praised IRA hunger striker Kevin Lynch, who ran as a candidate in Waterford while being imprisoned in the North in the 1980s.

Mr Cullinane said he never distanced himself from the IRA or the hunger strikers since entering politics.

Talks

Speaking on WLR FM yesterday, he also talked-up his negotiating credentials, saying he had been involved in the St Andrew's Agreement talks in the 2000s and been to Downing Street on a number of occasions where he had met Tony Blair.

However, despite an expectation within the party that he would be part of the Sinn Fein team to negotiate for a programme for government he was not part of the line-up unveiled by finance spokesman Pearse Doherty outside party HQ in Dublin last night.

Mr Doherty will lead the Sinn Fein delegation with housing spokesman Eoin O Broin, health spokeswoman Louise O'Reilly and former MEP Matt Carthy, who was elected to the Dail, also involved.

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Pearse Doherty

Pearse Doherty

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Mr Doherty also slapped down his colleague last night, saying: "I think there's a lesson for everybody not to be giving speeches at two o'clock in the morning and letting yourself get carried away in terms of the euphoria of winning over 20,000 votes in Waterford, but he has apologised and I think that was the right thing."

A transcript of the event recorded Mr Cullinane's election agent saying: "We broke the Free State."

Asked about those remarks, Mr Doherty said: "I think those comments are completely inappropriate and I haven't heard the comments myself, but they're completely inappropriate."

As Sinn Fein seeks to hold talks with other like-minded parties in the coming days, Mr Doherty said there was now a "huge mandate" to deliver a break for renters after the Dail passed legislation two months ago to freeze rents for three years and give renters a tax rebate of up to €1,500.

Mr Doherty also set out plans to force property funds and banks to pay more tax, with increases in the bank levy and changes to rules that allow banks to write off corporation tax against historic losses also on the cards.

"We're very clear that we have to end the tax loopholes for some of the property funds and some of the companies that are making the headlines today," he said outside Sinn Fein headquarters on Parnell Square last night.

"Vulture funds need to start paying their taxes," he added.

"Banks who are making billions of euro of profits need to start paying their taxes.

"This is some of the change that the people have voted for and this is what Sinn Fein want to bring about if we can get agreement with other parties to form a government and in my view, there is an urgency for that."