Dublin South Central TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh denied his party has a problem with the issue after former Dublin city councillor Jonathan Dowdall alleged bullying is “allowed to go on in certain parts of Sinn Féin”.
Just days after claims of questionable finances and alleged bullying of sitting Cork East TD Sandra McLellan saw Cork County Council members Kieran McCarthy and Melissa Mullane expelled and suspended for 12 months, Mr Dowdall said he also suffered from abuse.
The father-of-four was elected to the council in May 2014 before falling into ill-health and subsequently resigning from Sinn Féin and the council in February.
Mr Dowdall — who has previously suggested a “small element causing nothing but havoc spreading rumours” about his condition — said yesterday he believes officials turn a blind eye to bullying.
He said during his short time in office that “there were numerous attacks from a certain element” who wanted another person elected, and that “If I stuck by [the party] I would have been endorsing bullying”.
The issue — which Mr Dowdall said he reported to senior officials in deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald’s constituency where he is based — was rejected by Mr Ó Snodaigh yesterday.
“No, I don’t believe there is any problem with bullying in the party. Sinn Féin has put in place a robust mechanism to investigate any complaint, whether it is bullying or otherwise,” he said.
A Sinn Féin spokesperson said “no formal complaint” about bullying was ever made by Mr Dowdall. The spokesperson added that “it is a fact” Mr Dowdall is now working with Independent councillor Christy Burke, who is to run in the general election.
Meanwhile, Mr Ó Snodaigh has appeared to call into question whether planned emergency “information” meetings for Sinn Féin members will still go ahead this week in order to explain the party’s reasons for expelling and suspending Mr McCarthy and Ms Mullane.
He said the meetings may be delayed as private information could be given “to all and sundry” before the individuals appeal the rulings.