Following the shock resignation of Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh from Sinn Féin late last week, a second elected representative, county councillor Gabe Cronnelly, has resigned from the party as well.
Cllr Cronnolly, who was elected to Galway County Council in 2014 for the Oranmore-Athenry ward, and had been involved in SF for some 25 years, said he was resigning from the party due to the "ongoing unrest around the way" SF is "dealing with unethical behaviour".
In a statement, the councillor said he was "awfully disappointed at" the way in which the Sinn Féin leadership has "refused to address the concerns of so many decent members here in Galway" in relation to "unacceptable behaviour", which he said is being carried out "by a small group of people".
He said that while the party has a constitution and a code of ethics, when it comes to "calling people to account", the "rule book goes out the window". He added: "It is very hard to have faith in a party which preaches one thing publicly, but fails to live up to true Republican ideals itself."
Cllr Cronneely said there are "many good people in Sinn Féin who want to make a real difference" but that it was "not acceptable" to let a "small group of individuals" treat others "in an unprofessional manner". He said the leadership had been aware of such problems for a long time - Cllr Cronneely wrote to the party's head office in April to express his concerns - but no improvements in the situation were visible.
"This was not an easy decision and was not by any means taken lightly," he said. "I feel I can better serve the people of the Oranmore-Athenry LEA as an Independent councillor and for that reason I am resigning from Sinn Féin with immediate effect.” However he added that "should a time arise in the future that circumstances within the party and the current situation may differ, then I may possibly reconsider my current position".