Three members of Social Democrats executive board resign as fallout over Ellie Kisyombe continues

Three members of Social Democrats executive board resign as fallout over Ellie Kisyombe continues
Ellie Kisyombe

Three members of the Social Democrats executive board have resigned this weekend.

Chris Bond, who represents Dublin South West on the party’s national executive, stepped down at the same time as party chairman Joe O’Connor and vice chair Carly Bailey.

Confirmation of the resignations of Mr O'Connor and Ms Bailey emerged on Saturday. Mr Bond's resignation was confirmed on Sunday.

The resignations come as the party battles to contain the fallout of a crisis involving one of its local election candidates Ellie Kisyombe.

Alleged inconsistencies in the background history of Ms Kisyombe emerged last week in the Sunday Times newspaper.

Ms Kisyombe is originally from Malawi and has spoken of her experience of living in the direct provision system for much of the last decade. Kisyombe, 41, was the subject of media attention after she became the first female asylum seeker to stand for election in Ireland.

The activist claimed she sought asylum immediately after arriving at Dublin airport in 2010. She also claimed to have been in direct provision, the state-run accommodation system for asylum seekers, for “almost a decade”.

Ms Kisyombe arrived in Ireland in April 2011 and secured a student visa. She then travelled to the UK and claimed asylum there in July 2011. She was returned to Ireland by UK authorities and claimed asylum in Ireland in November 2011, the Sunday Times reported.

The party has become sharply divided over the issue after it was decided to conduct an internal review into her background.

The party's National Executive met on Sunday morning when Peter Tanham (Dún Laoghaire) was appointed as interim party chair and Sally Aquilina (Meath West) as interim party vice-chair.

A party spokeswoman confirmed Mr Bond’s resignation, adding that there had been no further resignations from the executive board.

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