Expelled Sinn Féin councillor was subject of two inquiries into financial issues

The Sinn Féin councillor expelled from the party this week has been the subject of two internal inquiries into financial issues in the past 12 months.

The Irish Examiner understands Cllr Kieran McCarthy was investigated by Sinn Féin officials over a €6,500 credit union loan taken out by his cumann to fund his local election campaign last year.

The Cobh-based Cork County Council member was also one of a number of people linked to an unrelated charity group which was the subject of a separate internal inquiry last summer.

This second issue relates to a seven-month delay in giving €2,900 in fundraised money to the family of a seriously ill child, but is unrelated to his expulsion.

While the party is continuing its silence on why Mr McCarthy was expelled, it is understood the credit union loan formed part of the decision which has rocked its Cork East power base.

Sources said the €6,500 loan was taken out without the party’s knowledge before the 2014 local election.

An internal party inquiry was launched in October 2014. It then fed into a wider review, in February, into alleged bullying of a sitting TD and financial matters.

Mr McCarthy last night told the Irish Examiner claims the party was not aware of the credit union loan are “blatant lies”.

He said the loan, which was raised at Monday’s expulsion meeting, was agreed after a cumann meeting and was similar to a loan taken out before the 2009 local election. He said the money was for his campaign and party officials took it out, an issue he said is shown in records provided to Sinn Féin.

He said there is “nothing secretive” about the loan, adding that no disciplinary breaches took place. He also confirmed Sinn Féin “held an inquiry”, led by party official Tom Hanlon, into a charity he was connected to last year. He confirmed this related to €2,900 in funding raised by the Spirit Of Cobh charity for a sick teenager who needs treatment.

The money was held back for seven months before being transferred to the family, who had contacted gardaí. Mr McCarthy said the money was held before confirmation the funds would be used to bring the sick teenager abroad for treatment. He said it is “a load of bull” to say anything untoward took place.

On Monday, it was revealed Mr McCarthy was expelled and Kanturk-Mallow councillor Melissa Mullane was suspended for 12 months. Other officials were also disciplined.

This review, which Sinn Féin said followed “a number of complaints” relates to claims sitting TD Sandra McLellan suffered “uncomradery behaviour” and financial issues specific to Cobh.

Sinn Féin last night said 60 party members were interviewed, stressing the decisions “were not taken” to block a replacement for Ms McLellan. Mr McCarthy said he was expelled to “eliminate competition”.



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