The Anti-Austerity Alliance (AAA), which expelled an elected councillor for allegedly sending a threatening message to a local activist, said it did not believe there was “any context or justification for such behaviour”.
Cllr John Loftus’ AAA membership was withdrawn on Tuesday night when he declined to step down from Limerick City and County Council.
He had sent a private Facebook message last Sunday in which he told AAA activist Greg Doran: “I tried to be nice. The next time I see you I’lll [sic] cut your fuckin throat. Insult me & you are dead. See you Monday.” Mr Doran subsequently posted the private message on social media.
On Tuesday, Cllr Loftus had described the message as a “moment of madness”, insisting he would “never hurt anybody”.
However, after a meeting on Tuesday night, which Cllr Loftus did not attend, the Limerick branch of the AAA said the councillor’s behaviour had been a been “a catastrophic misjudgement” for a public representative which “brings the AAA and the council into disrepute”.
“The AAA does not believe there is any context or justification for such behaviour,” a statement from the AAA said. “As Cllr Loftus has refused to step down as a councillor, we have now been forced to implement the decision and we no longer consider him a member of the AAA.”
According to Cllr Cian Prendeville of the AAA, Cllr Loftus attended a meeting of the Midwest AAA committee on Monday but did not attend Tuesday night’s activists’ meeting. He said Cllr Loftus had been given opportunities to step down as a councillor.
“If that didn’t happen, unfortunately the only way the AAA could clearly demonstrate its complete opposition to his actions would be by immediately removing John from membership of the AAA,” said Cllr Cian Prendeville.
“Activists felt that anything less than resignation as a councillor would not really be credible, given the strong opposition in the community to threats, intimidation and violence, and would leave a question mark as to whether Cllr Loftus or the AAA really treated this situation with the seriousness it deserves.
“The meeting also felt that the qualified apology, which Cllr Loftus offered in the media, demonstrated he has indeed failed to register the seriousness of the situation. There is no context that justifies the threats he made.”
Cllr Loftus was not available for comment yesterday morning concerning his removal from the party.
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