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Sinn Féin TDs defend internal review decision not to criticise party's leadership over elections

Sinn Féin TDs defend internal review decision not to criticise party's leadership over elections
Party leader Mary Lou McDonald

Senior Sinn Féin TDs have defended an internal review's decision not to personally criticise the party's leadership for its disastrous local and European elections campaign, saying the party only needs to work on how it highlights its policies.

An unpublished internal review in the wake of May's local and European elections said there is nothing wrong with the party's policies and argued its voter support problems are due to communications issues.

After the election, Sinn Féin lost half of its councillors and two of its three MEP seats in the Republic, party leader Mary Lou McDonald asked for an internal review of what went wrong.

The review, which was based on the views of candidates and grassroots members across the country, was discussed in detail during a behind closed doors meeting of the party's ard comhairle in Dublin on Saturday.

While the report has not been published, details of its findings were leaked on Tuesday, stating that the party's leadership has not been held responsible for what happened and puts Sinn Féin's problems down to communications issues.

However, despite opposition parties claiming the conclusions mean Sinn Féin is covering up its own problems, senior party TDs backed the findings and defended the decision not to blame the leadership for what happened.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, one Sinn Féin TD said "no one is critical about policies" and that "the problem we've had is we launch policy documents but then don't campaign on them" instead of any leadership problems.

Another TD took issue with suggestions any leadership problems have been ignored, defending party leader Mary Lou McDonald and saying "the issue is we have the policies just not any platforms to discuss them".

Ms McDonald's future has been called into question in recent weeks due to the election results and last year's failed presidential election campaign.

While Sinn Féin has stressed there is no suggestion of a leadership change, last week it promoted former leader Gerry Adams from a backbench TD to the party's Irish unity spokesperson.

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