Two left-wing candidates in the Dublin South-West by-election are engaged in a bitter row over their positions on water charges, after claims that Sinn Féin launched a "dirty tricks" campaign against its closest rival.
The Socialist Party candidate, Paul Murphy, said Sinn Féin should investigate whether one of its members made up a Facebook profile, purporting to be his and falsely attributing comments to him.
The row erupted after Sinn Féin member Jason Roe posted an online picture of a conversation he had with a profile which carried Mr Murphy’s name and picture.
It read: “Why am I scared of Sinn Féin? It’s politics Jason. I know Sinn Féin may block water charges if they get elected but I’m not a member of Sinn Féin so politics kicks in and I say what I have to in order to gain support!
“To be honest I know I probably won’t get elected but I have to give it a good shot ... you understand that yes.”
Mr Murphy said the account had nothing to do with him and said he “believes strongly” that the Sinn Féin member set it up.
He called on the party’s senior members to take more responsibility when sharing content on Facebook after the falsified image was shared by deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald and Dublin MEP Lynn Boylan.
Ms McDonald apologised for sharing the picture but said it was a mistake and not party of a dirty tricks campaign.
Mr Murphy claims it was aimed at convincing people he had been dishonest with the electorate about water charges after he claimed that Sinn Féin has changed its position on the issue.
Speaking to RTÉ Radio yesterday, the former MEP said the speed with which the fake conversation was shared shows “the extreme nervousness in Sinn Féin that their weak opposition to water charges is being exposed”.
* This story has been edited after a previous version incorrectly stated that the MEP for Dublin was Liadh Ní Riada. Lynn Boylan is, of course, the Sinn Fein MEP for Dublin.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved