SINN Féin councillor Donna McGettigan has said that the rancorous departure of Violet Anne Wynne from the party is unfortunate, while she says she herself has not considered a future Dáil bid.
On Tuesday, she said efforts had been made to deal with all issues raised by the woman who caused a major upset by taking a seat in the 2020 general election.
“Any issue that we were made aware of, we tried locally and nationally to resolve them. It’s just very unfortunate that they couldn’t be resolved and Violet Anne felt she had to leave the party.
“I’m not going to get into the tit for tat, the he said she said, because it’s not going to help her and it’s not going to help us either. Unfortunately she’s gone, the seat is gone and what we’re going to do going forward is hit the ground running.
“On our social media you’d have seen we’ve been out, we’ve delivered thousands of leaflets since January, thousands of homes got Violet-Anne’s newsletters and stuff. We’ve been working on the ground and that’s what we’re going to continue to do, we’re going to keep on going.”
She said that the party had made it a priority to have a female candidate in the Banner County in the last general election, and she rejected Ms Wynne’s suggestion that Clare Sinn Féin is in any way a cold house for women.
“I’ve always got great support, any time I’ve contacted anyone in the party I’ve got great support.”
Councillor McGettigan is the only other Sinn Féin representative in Clare, and given the advantages of her greater profile, would she consider running at the next general election?
“You probably know I love the local. I’m very much involved on the ground, I’m involved in committees in Shannon, hard working committees. My main focus, because I’m in Mike McKee’s seat (she was co-opted following his death), is to win it back in the next local elections.
“My focus has always been that, I haven’t given thought to anything else, naturally I would have thought that with Violet-Anne being the standing TD she would have gone forward. Convention will tell who’ll be the next candidate anyway.”
While Sinn Féin was slower to build an electoral base in Clare than in other parts of the Republic, it has had quite a bit of success here in the last decade. In 2014 the late Mike McKee won its first seat on Clare County Council since the 1970s, while he retained it five years later.