Cllr Paul Hogan (SF ) has rejected claims made by his party last week, in which they deny accusations that the Athlone councillor has been the victim of bullying and intimidation from some Sinn Féin members for the last two years.
Sinn Féin claim its National Investigations Committee dealt with the complaints made by Cllr Hogan, that he did not receive support from the party during the last General Election, and that he was subjected to kangaroo court proceedings.
This week, Cllr Hogan said it is not true that Sinn Féin’s National Investigations Committee addressed his complaints.
“In fact, on March 3, 2017, I received correspondence from the chairperson of the National Investigations Committee to essentially say that the committee would not deal with the complaint as it was ‘too wide-ranging’ and that the chairperson felt it ‘impossible’ for the committee to deal with my complaint,” Cllr Hogan said.
“It also stated that I could not make a statement against the party itself. This reply came five months after I submitted the complaint.”
Cllr Hogan added that all those from within the party who offered him support during his General Election campaign were marginalised, despite the fact that he was exonerated of all claims against him.
He stands over his claim that he received “little or no support” from the party during the election. He says resources were withdraw from Longford-Westmeath in November 2015, that canvass cards and posters were withheld, and that he was not invited to canvass training.
“Despite repeated requests for a leadership visit to County Longford, none was forthcoming. The party president Gerry Adams did visit Mullingar for approximately 45 minutes, and that was basically the entire contribution by the party to my election campaign,” Cllr Hogan said.
On October 16, 2015, Cllr Hogan says he was subjected to a kangaroo court where the verdict was decided in advance of the meeting and he was given no right of reply.
“I stated my innocence to these two individuals and was told that they didn’t care, that the decision was made, and I was to support the female candidate that management had lined up to replace me. They told me I could remain as a Sinn Féin councillor, group leader, and member,” Cllr Hogan said.
He added that he was given six hours to make a decision and that the matter was on the agenda of the Ard Chomhairle scheduled to meet the following morning.
“I was told that I would be suspended indefinitely without prejudice, that the leadership would release a statement, and in that scenario I wouldn’t be able to contest the election anyway. In any person’s language, this was a kangaroo court and many of my rights as a citizen and as a Sinn Féin member were broken or infringed at this meeting,” he commented.
Cllr Hogan is calling for major reform on how the party deals with complaints and is adamant that a radical shakeup of middle management is needed. He also thanked all those who have offered him support during what he describes as “a difficult time”.