Cork councillor claims she was suspended from Greens for speaking out against Govt negotiations

A Cork Green Party councillor says she was temporarily suspended by the party after she spoke out against government formation talks.
Cork councillor claims she was suspended from Greens for speaking out against Govt negotiations
Cllr Lorna Bogue, Green Party Councillor for Cork City South East
Cllr Lorna Bogue, Green Party Councillor for Cork City South East

A Cork Green Party councillor says she was temporarily suspended by the party after she spoke out against government formation talks.

In May this year Cork councillor Lorna Bogue made a number of media appearances speaking out against entering negotiations, noting that the promises being made by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael were "slippery".

Ms Bogue's comments were put to party leader Eamon Ryan on RTÉ's Prime Time programme on May 7, and on May 8 Ms Bogue received an email from the party headquarters that her membership status had been changed by the party, "in relation to two national media appearances", among other issues.

Robert O’Sullivan, Communications Officer for the Cork Greens said: "I can confirm that we are aware that one of our members received an email from the Party stating their suspension from the Green Party. We have been in regular contact with the member in question regarding this matter, and will be following up with head office as the situation arises.”

In instances of complaints about members, protocol dictates that the Management Committee first decides to inform the member of their potential suspension, before it is taken to the Executive Committee for a vote.

A member of the Executive Committee said although there was a discussion, the group would never have suspended Ms Bogue.

"I don't even think there was a vote on it," they said.

"It was taken to the Executive within 24 hours of the email and it was decided; No way.

"She maybe wasn't following protocols, but we'd have to suspend half the party, she didn't come anywhere near a suspension.

"It never came out who made the complaint. Maybe someone on the management committee called for it.

A senior member of the Cork Greens said: "There's a protocol for these things, a complaints procedure, and arbitration, it's a long process.

To email someone and suspend them is outside the remit of anyone.

"We would've backed Lorna anyway, it was completely beyond the pale."

When approached by the Examiner, Ms Bogue said: "I think this kind of misbehaviour can be seen publicly now.

"When people speak out they're set upon with these ad-hominem attacks, and I've been told to leave my party, that behaviour is persistent.

"I've noticed that a lot of people are staying quiet on it, I've been open internally about the abuse I've received at the hands of the party, when I speak out I get silenced and people denying what's happening to me.

"I've been enduring this for over a year, and when people see how I've been treated, they think: 'Well, I'm not going to say anything'.

"I think a lot of people have seen what's going on and they're thinking this is going to be what it's like for the next four or five years, more railroading than listening," Ms Bogue added.

The Green Party say Mr Ryan "has never made a complaint about anyone" in the party.

"No member of the party has ever been suspended or had their membership changed in any way for speaking in the media, or breaching the rules around media engagement," a spokesman said.

The specifics of any suspension cannot be discussed publicly by the party.

The party has been rocked by a split in their membership over the initial decision to enter talks and the recent subsequent vote for a programme for government.

It's been noted by members that the debate in the last week has grown "nasty" and insiders say the tone of the debate has taken a turn in some parts of the membership debate.

"Something I've noticed after the locals, the spirit of the party certainly changed.

"The culture has become a lot more business as usual for Irish politics, a lot more like other parties, it's very disheartening to see it happen to the Greens.

"We talk about doing politics differently, it used to be about getting things done, and open debate and that spirit is gone from the party, we're more like a regular political party now."

Members say a lack of structure within the party often adds to issues, with only "three or four staff in HQ, most of which are councillors, we've no office staff outside Dublin, so we haven't recovered from the previous wipe out institutionally, which makes these things worse," the source said.

A Green Party spokesman said:"The party is aware of many difficult exchanges happening online between members, supporters and members of the public. "The party has not received any complaints relating specifically to online harassment.

Head Office is committed to ensuring members treat each other with respect and have been in daily contact with the membership and as recently as yesterday the party has reminded members to treat one another with respect.

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