Cork East TD Sandra McLellan this week broke her silence on why she is not seeking re-election under Sinn Féin after previously deciding not to run.
In an interview, she said she had been “undermined” and her work had been questioned.
While not naming any individuals, Ms McLellan said she was proud of her record.
“I was a good TD. I love politics and I love my job. I wanted to go for another five years because I felt I had much more to give and polling suggested I had a very good chance of being re-elected,” said Ms McLellan.
“I am now unemployed. So why would anyone who loves their job so much give it up voluntarily? Efforts to undermine me were particularly vicious and I had a decision to make regarding my family.
“When it affects the people you love and your close supporters so much, it’s time to say enough is enough,” she told the.
Responding to the comments, Ms McDonald said: “There were difficulties within the Cork East constituency and I am aware of those and I am aware of the upset that caused Sandra.
“Sandra is a friend of mine, in addition to being a Dáil colleague. So interventions were made locally.
“We are building a party in which people feel comfortable and people feel supported.”
She said her party wanted to build a situation where there is “no pettiness” that you could see in political life.
Ms McDonald said Ms McLellan is a “fine” person and that, equally, Pat Buckley, who is now contesting the election for the party, is a decent person.