Sinn Féin accused of throwing councillors 'under the bus' amid Paddy Holohan controversy

The party's activity in Dublin South West was last night suspended after the former MMA fighter was nominated for the position of mayor of South Dublin.
Sinn Féin accused of throwing councillors 'under the bus' amid Paddy Holohan controversy
Sinn Féin's Paddy Holohan had served a five-month suspension from the party for comments made on his podcast. Picture: Sportsfile
Sinn Féin's Paddy Holohan had served a five-month suspension from the party for comments made on his podcast. Picture: Sportsfile

Questions have been raised about the nature of Paddy Holohan's suspension from Sinn Féin, with one political rival accusing the party's leadership of "throwing councillors under the bus".

The party's activity in Dublin South West was last night suspended after the former MMA fighter was nominated for the position of mayor of South Dublin.

The nomination came immediately after Mr Holohan had served a five-month suspension from the party for comments made on his podcast.

A note to members in the area said activities were suspended "following some recent political actions taken by some members in the constituency which the Ard Chomhairle views with deep concern”.

“The National leadership intends to meet with the new Dublin Cuige/Political leadership post the AGM on Saturday, July 11 to assess the situation and set the terms of reference for a full review of the area."

The nomination was not cleared by party leadership and some TDs, including Eoin Ó Broin, expressed their surprise at the nomination.

However, Mr Holohan had been attending meetings of the council as a member of the party as recently as May, something party headquarters were alerted to.

Due to physical distancing measures, South Dublin County Council is operating a reduced capacity for its full monthly meetings, an arrangement which is being carried out by several councils and the Oireachtas.

Under the agreement, Sinn Féin is entitled to send three councillors to meetings.

At May's meeting, Mr Holohan joined councillors Willo Carey and Lisa Kinsella Colman in the Sinn Féin seats, despite his suspension.

Sinn Féin at the time told The Irish Examiner that Mr Holohan was still suspended and a disciplinary procedure under way, but the party's leader on the council, Cathal King, told The Irish Examiner that the decision was made due to the availability of councillors, with at least one cocooning.

Mr King also said that Mr Holohan's presence ensured a geographical spread to the party's councillors, with Ms Kinsella and Mr Carey representing the Clondalkin area and Mr Holohan Tallaght.

Green Party councillor Peter Kavanagh said that he felt the suspension of activities would mean nothing unless it was enforced.

Mr Kavanagh also pointed out that Mr Holohan's nomination was voted for by councillors in the Dublin Mid West region.

"I'm glad Sinn Féin appear to be taking this seriously, but I'm worried it will amount to nothing.

"Cllr Holohan's five-month suspension didn't seem to have any effect.

"He attended a council meeting with numbers curtailed by Covid-19 as one of Sinn Féin's nominees, not as an independent.

I'm also worried that members of Sinn Féin in Dublin South West who were quick to distance themselves from Cllr Holohan's comments are being punished for the actions of councillors, some of whom are in Dublin Mid West.

Fine Gael councillor David McManus, who was elected deputy mayor at the sitting, said the decision from the party "raises more questions".

"Sinn Féin's latest decision raises more questions - why was this Councillor re-admitted by Sinn Féin in the first place?

"How can he be re-admitted as an official councillor representing the party but then can't be nominated for Mayor?

"The Sinn Féin leadership are responsible for this and now they are trying to throw their local Councillors under the bus.

"I would call for Mary Lou McDonald to make a full statement on this matter, it's time for answers, not reviews."

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald had declared herself "shocked and deeply disappointed" by Mr Holohan's comments on his No Shame podcast, where he had claimed underage girls were extorting men for money.

There is some f****** scum women out there as well.

“And I just want to say to you, there’s a situation that I heard during the week… somebody was underage, the person didn’t know they were underage, the girl pursued the guy.

“Got whatever she needed, had pictures, had videos, and then said ‘I want 10 grand’.

“And that was, that wasn’t the first person, there was loads of them."

The suspension followed other remarks Mr Holohan made about Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's Irish heritage and the fact that he, in Mr Holohan’s opinion, does not represent a “family man”.

More in this section

Lunchtime News Wrap

A lunchtime summary of content highlights on the Irish Examiner website. Delivered at 1pm each day.

Sign up