herald

Tuesday 23 October 2018

Sinn Fein has 'fallen short of standards' on bullying, says Ellis

Dessie Ellis
Dessie Ellis

A Sinn Fein TD has criticised his own party leadership for failing to deal with a culture of bullying.

Dublin North-West TD Dessie Ellis has broken ranks, accusing the party of having "fallen short of the standards we all expect".

Mr Ellis told the Herald that there are rules and regulations within Sinn Fein governing the use of social media, which members "are not adhering to".

Comrades

"There are standards, rules and regulations in relation to bullying and how people respond on social media when it to comes to their party comrades, and any people for that matter," Mr Ellis said.

"The party hasn't lived up to that at this stage. It has fallen short of the standards we all expect."

Mr Ellis made his comments after the Herald revealed details of a dossier that makes extraordinary allegations about Sinn Fein in Dublin North-West.

It details how members have allegedly been subjected to threats and labelled "thugs", "witch" and "ratface".

The alleged threats included "We know where you live" and "You better stay out of Ballymun", according to the dossier, which has been sent to senior party figures.

Mr Ellis is the first Sinn Fein TD to speak out about bullying in the party.

It is understood he has raised his concerns internally with the party leadership.

His claims of bullying practices, particularly on social media, put him at odds with senior Sinn Fein figures such as party president Gerry Adams and leader-in-waiting Mary Lou McDonald.

In a recent interview, Mr Adams said he would quit the party if there was a bullying culture.

"There is no culture of bully- ing in Sinn Fein. We have a zero-tolerance attitude to bullying," he said.

Before Christmas, Ms McDonald did accept that there are "issues to be addressed" following a number of resignations from the party.

However, she denied that there was a culture of bullying.

Just before the Christmas recess, the party's Galway senator Trevor O Clochartaigh quit.

He said there were "continuous disciplinary issues" that went unresolved.

Another high-profile member, Tipperary councillor Seamus Morris, said he was pushed to the point of contemplating suicide.

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