Internal party dispute rocks Sinn Fein in county Tipperary.
Sinn Féin party officials are to meet with both sides in the bitter internal party dispute in Co. Tipperary that reached boiling point this week with the revelation that a vote was passed at a party grassroots meeting last week to expel Cllr Seamus Morris from the local party organisation.
The Nenagh councillor, who was Sinn Féin's Tipperary general election candidate in last year's election, has condemned the motion passed at the Sinn Fein Comhairle Ceantair meeting last Wednesday, June 14 as "illegal" and claims it is the work of a "rogue element" within the party in Tipperary.
A statement from Sinn Fein headquarters in Dublin said it was aware of difficulties in the party's organisation in Co. Tipperary and had received notification of the motion passed at the Comhairle Ceantair meeting.
"In the coming days party officials will be meeting with members of the party on both sides of this dispute in an effort to bring this matter to a resolution," the statement said.
A Sinn Féin spokesman confirmed the Tipperay Comhairle Ceantair, which comprises representatives of individual cumainn, hadn't the power to expel a member from the Tipperary party organisation or the party.
The internal party strife went public on Monday night a statement was issued by Tipperary Sinn Fein stating the membership of the Comhairle Ceantair had passed the following motion addressed to Cllr Morris:
“Comhairle Ceantair Sinn Féin, Tiobraid Árann, after nine months of trying to resolve our difficulties with Cllr Morris without success, with the support of the membership, has decided you would be better affiliated with a neighbouring county. A vote has been taken by the membership to expel you from Tipperary Sinn Féin.”
The statement outlined that the contents of a similar motion were previously conveyed informally to Cllr Morris but the motion was now being conveyed formally to him after a vote of the Comhairle Ceantair membership on June 14 as he had not responded to their concerns.
Cllr Morris said the motion had no standing. He described it as an attempt to "bully" a councillor who had served the party for many years and declared that he wasn't going to stand for it.
"I will be dealing with this through the party's structures and will be looking for the party to take on these people," he said.
Tipperary Sinn Fein's Youth Officer Kevin Brunnick said the motion was passed because the Comhairle Ceantair had unsuccessfully tried to engage with Cllr Morris for months.
"We are open to talk to him anytime," said the Cahir based SF activist.