Stephen Donnelly: Social Democrats just wasn’t working for me

Stephen Donnelly has refused to rule out joining another party after leaving the Social Democrats. The Wicklow TD announced his resignation from the fledgling party yesterday, claiming it “just wasn’t working” for him.

His former colleagues rounded on him, claiming he was not committed and did not work hard enough to establish the party.

Róisín Shortall and Catherine Murphy said Mr Donnelly, a founding member of the party, had been “disengaged for some time” and had not put in the hard, “non-glamorous” work required to get a new political group off the ground.

Mr Donnelly said he would be consulting with his supporters in the coming days and weeks but that a conversation on whether he will remain an Independent or join another party will take place “quickly”.

He added that he would “love to be in government” some day. “That is a conversation that has to be had,” he said. “It will be had quickly and it will be had with my supporters here in Wicklow.

“I think anyone who has the great honour of being elected to the Dáil or the Seanad should aspire to office,” he said.

Mr Donnelly said he would still try to influence government from opposition.

“You can effect positive change from anywhere but if you are asking me straight would I love to be in government some day, of course I would,” he told RTÉ’s Drivetime. “I would be astounded to hear any TD say differently.”

Announcing his resignation, the former business analyst blamed the three-pronged leadership arrangement of the party.

“My decision is based on the fact that for the Social Democrats to achieve its potential as a party of significant influence and scale, despite the many obstacles new parties face, one critical component is that the leadership team must function very well together as a team,” he said.

“In spite of everyone’s best efforts, I have concluded that our partnership did not have that.

“I further believe that this would be the case whether the leadership had continued to be shared or was vested in one person, which was not something I or anyone else had sought,” he said.


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