Internal rift sees Clarke leave Sinn Féin
Internal rift sees Clarke leave Sinn Féin - Mayo Advertiser - May 15, 2009.
Sitting Ballina town councillor Peter Clarke announced this week that he had left Sinn Féin and will stand for the forthcoming town council elections as an independent republican candidate. Speaking to the Mayo Advertiser this week, Clarke said: “I have been thinking about this for a number of months and made my mind up about three weeks ago and told the party on Tuesday of my decision.”
Clarke hit out at the party on a number of issues when speaking to the Mayo Advertiser as he outlined his reasons for leaving the party. “Basically my father passed away in 2000 and it was said to me in a Sinn Féin meeting after in north Mayo that he had done nothing for north Mayo and he was a cheque book republican. There was a lot of disrespect shown to him. Also in 2004 I opened a Sinn Féin office in Ballina, when I was told that the party would pay half the cost of the office, which never happened. I wasn’t working at the time myself and had to put thousands of euro into it of my own money and because there was no money coming from the party I had to shut it down after a couple of months.”
Clarke was unhappy with comments which were directed at him and his family at Sinn Féin meetings in north Mayo. “It was said to me that I only got the nomination in 2004 because I would only get 20 votes, there were a lot of things said. I would say that 80 per cent of the remarks about me and my family were said to me in Sinn Féin meetings, there are a lot of people with a lot of old scores to settle.”
Clarke also said that a number of members of the party were unhappy with the Jackie Clarke collection which his father left to the town of Ballina and did not want it in the town and tried to apply pressure to get it moved. “In relation to the Jackie Clarke collection, which my father wanted to leave to the town of Ballina, his home town, there were a lot of members of the party who weren’t happy that it was to be in Ballina and wanted it to be in Castlebar or Dublin, expressly against his wishes and of my mother who handed the collection over to the town council. Also back in 2006, I passed on a personal invite to the party to give to Gerry Adams to come and have a private viewing of the collection which I believe was never passed on.”
Clarke also hit out at a number of new members of the party whom he does not believe are real republicans. “In the past eight years you have seen an awful lot of people who are what I would describe as ‘Mé Féiners’. There are still a lot of decent republicans out there, but an awful lot who are just out for themselves.” Clarke also said that he has the support of the republican movement in the town in the upcoming elections. “I’m very confident that I will get re-elected on my performance as a councillor. The Geraghty-Stagg Cumann has closed down and they have given me their support for the upcoming elections.
Party says it is an internal matter
The Sinn Féin organisation in Mayo, while not commenting on the issue, released a statement saying: “Mayo Sinn Féin has confirmed that they will not be running any candidates in Ballina town and county council electoral areas in the upcoming local elections. Sinn Féin demands and expects public representation of the highest level, both in terms of representing our party and those people who vote for Sinn Féin.
“Our party has not had a functioning organisation in Ballina for more than two years. We will be launching a new structure in the area in the next few weeks, working towards ensuring that Padraig MacLochlainn is elected as an MEP, and building the party locally for future campaigns.” They concluded the statement by wishing Peter Clarke the best in the future and saying that it was an internal party matter and there would be no further comment on the issue.
Shameful behaviour by the shinners; greedy, unprincipled and petty. The Mayo organisation is definitely in step with the rest of them.