Former Ógra Sinn Féin chair claims party told her to delete critical social media posts

A former Sinn Féin member says a party officer arrived at her home to tell her to delete social media posts critical of the party.
Former Ógra Sinn Féin chair claims party told her to delete critical social media posts

"I felt really weird about it, he was talking to my parents but he told them to tell me that I needed to delete my tweet about Brian Stanley as head office had seen it," Christine O'Mahony said.

A former Sinn Féin member says a party officer arrived at her home to tell her to delete social media posts critical of the party.

Christine O'Mahony, the former chair of Ógra Sinn Féin at UCD says a veteran party member attended her home at around 11am on Thursday morning and told her parents that he had been instructed by "head office" to tell her to delete tweets relating to Brian Stanley.

Mr Stanley has been accused of homophobia regarding tweets sent in 2017 about then-Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. 

The Sinn Féin TD and Public Accounts Committee chair tweeted: "Yippee 4 d tory. it's Leo. U can do what u like in bed but don't look 4 a pay rise the next morning."

Mr Stanley says his record campaigning on LGBTQ+ rights stands and the meaning of the post had been "twisted".

Ms O'Mahony was at home attending an online lecture when the officer called, and said she felt the visit was inappropriate.

"I felt really weird about it, he was talking to my parents but he told them to tell me that I needed to delete my tweet about Brian Stanley as head office had seen it," she said.

"The message was; You need to follow the rules.

I had tweeted that I felt Brian Stanley's tweet was homophobic and he should delete it and should apologise to the LGBT+ community.

"Other people were calling for resignations, but I didn't.

"If the member had an issue he could've text me, I don't know why he came to my house.

"I always call out wrongdoing and I didn't want to stay silent, that just means nothing will be done, that's the whole reason I was in the party.

"I decided then to leave, I left the position and now I'm being called a liar."

Both Sinn Féin and the senior party member have not yet responded to numerous queries from the Irish Examiner.

Ms O'Mahony says she has been called on three separate occasions to delete social media posts before the officer came to her home.

"They're saying today that no one was told to delete their tweets, when I was called just last week during the greyhound racing debate because I didn't agree with the Sinn Fein's stance," she said.

"At the moment I don't want to be involved, I want to take a break from party politics, I would still vote for Sinn Féin, I have no issue with my own TD.

"I just wouldn't join again, I'm not going to be told to be quiet."

In the day since Ms O'Mahony's resignation another former Sinn Féin LGBT+ officer says he left the party over its lack of accountability over accusations of homophobia.

Seán Pender had been the party's Ógra LGBT+ officer in UCD for just over a month when he left the party on Thursday night after a week of controversy over TD Brian Stanley's tweets about then-Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

He says the party call for accountability from their rivals but do not adhere to the same standard. 

"The last couple of weeks we've seen worrying trends, Sinn Féin voters most likely to vote for Trump in polls, the lowest in polls around vaccines, and in my head, I thought; I'm in the party and I can change it," he said.

"Even with the Brian Stanley issue, the same idea; I can change this but I have to criticise it.

"I posted on social media publically that he should resign.

"When I reached out to our chair (Ms O'Mahoney) and she told me she had been contacted by the party, I made my decision when I saw they tried to silence her.

Although they didn't contact me, I thought: How can I be part of a party who are silencing people on homophobia?

Mr Pender says he has not heard anything from Sinn Féin since leaving his position.

"Ultimately Brian Stanley had his chance to apologise and he denied it, he should resign," he added.

"And any chance of apologising and moving on was lost when he deleted his Twitter account because he turned his back on accountability.

"Sinn Féin have been pushing for that in government."

Brian Stanley will address the Dáil on the subject of his tweets on December 15. 

He has written to the ceann comhairle Seán Ó’Fearghaíl to request the time.

More in this section