Irish Republican News · June 9, 2009
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Christy Burke resigns from Sinn Féin

Dublin city councillor Christy Burke has resigned from Sinn Féin, it has been confirmed. He will remain on the council as an independent.

Mr Burke, who lost out in the Dublin Central by-election to rival community activist Maureen O’Sullivan on Friday, was re-elected on the second count in Dublin’s North Inner City constituency as a councillor.

Speaking on Irish radio, Burke indicated that he was constrained in the way he could vote on certain issues as a Sinn Féin member, but did not specify those matters on which he disagreed with the party leadership.

Sinn Féin had a disappointing election in the capital, losing three seats on Dublin city council and Mary Lou McDonald’s seat in the European Parliament. Its vote share in the greater Dublin area fell by 2.5% amid a surge of support for hard-left organisations.

Mr Burke has been a Sinn Féin member for 40 years and a councillor since 1985. A former Mayor of Dublin, Burke was for years Sinn Féin’s only elected councillor in Dublin and one of the party’s few elected representatives in the 26 Counties.

It is understood that Mr Burke would again have been passed over for the party’s nomination to contest any forthcoming general election his inner-city constituency. McDonald, the Sinn Féin Vice President, is the party leadership’s preferred candidate in the constituency. The north inner city has long been targeted as one of the party’s best prospects for gaining a seat to the Dublin parliament.

Nevertheless, Burke said he respected McDonald, who has been criticised by left-wing elements as a “parachuted” candidate, inappropriate to the deprived working-class communities in the area.

Chairperson of Dublin Sinn Féin Aengus O Snodaigh described Burke’s decision to resign from the party “only days after being elected on a Sinn Féin mandate” as “disappointing not least because it runs totally against the commitment which he made to the party and electorate only weeks ago when he sought and received the endorsement of Sinn Féin election convention”.

“He has been a republican activist all of his life and is recognised for his contribution. He should now honour the commitment that he made only weeks ago and return what is a Sinn Féin seat to the party.

“We are in the process of completely re-organising the party in Dublin Central blending experience with new people. Sinn Féin has always stood side-by-side with the people of this constituency and this will continue into the future.

“Sinn Féin is building the party right across the county and will continue to pursue and popularise our republican objectives of a united Ireland with equality and social justice for all.”

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© 2009 Irish Republican News