A Sinn Féin Senator has left the party over what he described as "serious breaches" of conduct and "unacceptable behaviour" in his constituency party, writes Elaine Loughlin.
Trevor Ó Clochartaigh, who has been a Sinn Féin senator since 2011, has this afternoon quit the party with immediate effect.
He is the latest of a growing number of Sinn Féin members who have left the party over allegations of bullying, intimidation and misconduct.
The Galway West politician also raised the way the selection convention in his constituency was being carried out, criticising the decision to "plough ahead" with what he claimed was a pre-determined outcome.
"We have had serious breaches of the Sinn Féin code of conduct in Galway West going unpunished and unacceptable behaviour against me and a number of other members locally, from a small number of ruthless, unscrupulous and ambitious individuals going back a number of years now, which has no place in a modern political party," he said.
Responding to Mr Ó Clochartaigh’s resignation from Sinn Féin this afternoon a Sinn Féin spokesperson said he had been making the case for a two candidate strategy in the Galway West/South Mayo constituency.
“Given the party didn’t make the quota or elect a TD in the last election we were going with a one candidate strategy on this occasion.
“It is clear that Trevor was worried that a democratic vote of party members in the constituency would not select him to contest the election.
“It is clear that Trevor was looking for a clear run at convention and the party wasn’t prepared to bypass our democratic structures to allow for that.
“Given he was arguing just yesterday for a two candidate strategy which he would have been happy to be part of, we are extremely surprised at his decision to leave the party today," the spokesman said.