An ex-Green Party councillor for Cork has signed for Sinn Féin claiming it was the best way to help build a genuine political alternative for the city.
Chris O’Leary quit the junior coalition party in January 2009 to become an independent, launching a scathing attack on the party leadership whom he accused of being determined to stay in power whatever the price.
He said he had watched Sinn Féin becoming a progressively stronger force in the politics of the city.
“Over the past few years I have established a good relationship with my Sinn Féin colleagues on Cork City Council,” Mr O’Leary said.
“I have seen Sinn Féin members and representatives campaigning on issues that are also important to me – for a real job creation strategy, for investment in communities, for action on anti-social behaviour and drugs, against NAMA and public service cutbacks.
“I have come to the conclusion that joining Sinn Féin is the best way I can contribute to building the genuine political alternative our city needs.”
Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald said she looked forward to party candidates challenging for seats throughout Cork in the next General Election.
“His (Mr O’Leary’s) decision to join Sinn Féin further reinforces what was already a strong team on Cork City Council, where our party doubled its representation in the 2009 elections,” Ms McDonald said.
“I am sure other elected representatives seeking a progressive party that stands up for ordinary people and offers a clear political alternative will look at Chris’s decision to join Sinn Féin and consider whether this would also be the right decision for them.”
Sinn Féin has lost a number of its councillors, including in Dublin, Killian Forde who defected to Labour in January, Christy Burke, Louise Minihan and in Wexford, John Dwyer, all of whom are now independents.
Mr O’Leary, who stood in the 2004 European elections and for the Dáil in 2007, had been with the Green Party for almost 20 years.