A FORMER member of the Green Party is expected to join Sinn Féin today, which would bring that party’s representation on Cork City Council to five – just one fewer than Fianna Fáil.
Cllr Chris O’Leary, a 50-year-old married father- of-three, will be formally welcomed into Sinn Féin by its vice president, Mary Lou McDonald, at a press conference in the Metropole Hotel.
Sources close to O’Leary say that talks between himself and Sinn Féin have been going on for several months.
Cllr O’Leary, who is a community development officer on the northside of the city, was unavailable for comment last night, but friends said he had decided to join Sinn Féin because he believed it was the only party which would fight for working-class principles, and that Labour had moved into centrist politics.
Cllr O’Leary resigned from the Green Party in December 2008, claiming that it had lost its way and was more interested in light bulbs than ensuring that families could put enough food on the table. He joined the Green Party in the late 1980s and was co-opted onto the city council in 2002.
He was elected to the council following the 2004 local elections and in the same year ran unsuccessfully for the party in the European elections.
However, within four years the once stalwart Green had become very disillusioned with the party’s coalition with Fianna Fáil and in particular its failure to protect against budget cuts, particularly those which hit education and the elderly.
He decided to jump ship, accusing the Green Party leadership of forgetting their principles in order to hold onto office.
Since then sources say he was approached by members of the Socialist Workers’ Party and People Before Politics, who both hoped to woo him into their ranks.
However, talks with Sinn Féin proved more fruitful, possibly because he already had Sinn Féin connections, with his brother, Don, and mother Patricia involved in the party.
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