*Tommy Guilfoyle, Louise O’Reilly, Donna McGettigan, James Ryan in Shannon. Photograph: Joe Buckley.
A LEADING SINN Féin TD has said Violet-Anne Wynne (IND) did not reach out to her prior to her exit from the party and has not ruled out two General Election candidates running in Co Clare.
Dublin Fingal TD, Louise O’Reilly (SF) visited Co Clare on Wednesday meeting with workers impacted by the closure of Iceland’s store in Shannon as well as local businesses in retail and hospitality plus representatives from Ennis Chamber and Shannon Chamber.
She was accompanied by Cathaoirleach of the Shannon Municipal District, Cllr Donna McGettigan (SF), Chairman of Sinn Féin’s Ennis Cumann, Tommy Guilfoyle and James Ryan, a Shannon Sinn Féin member.
Feedback given to Deputy O’Reilly included that “balanced regional development is not happening. There is a lot of innovation in Clare and businesses are anxious to keep going, they want to see good jobs coming into Clare and the expansion of existing services. Shannon Airport is a very good example of this, 92 percent of all air traffic coming into the country flies into Dublin Airport when there is plenty of capacity in Shannon”.
Last month, Sinn Féin selected Cllr McGettigan as its candidate for the next General Election. The selection convention was not shy of controversy, Noeleen Moran of Ballyvaughan was not let forward as a candidate despite receiving the backing of the East Clare Cumann and North Clare Cumann.
Recent rule changes introduced in May meant Moran who contested the 2016 General Election polling 7.4 percent of the first preferences, required a second nomination from one of the party structures which she did not receive meaning that she could not be nominated for the convention, thus Shannon’s McGettigan was the only selected representative.
Now it has emerged that the party is open to running a second candidate in the county, despite the perception that Moran was blocked from being put forward. “We’ve one candidate selected, Donna has been selected, in consultation with local members we will decide on a strategy, we believe there is huge support in Clare. I was with Donna during my visit, we were in a number of places and venues, I was very struck as we were walking around with the real goodwill that is there for Donna, she is well known and there is a lot of affection for her, I believe she is a great candidate”.
With the party now open to fielding a second candidate, Deputy O’Reilly was asked by The Clare Echo would there be a change of heart with allowing Noeleen Moran forward. “There is a process in place for anyone who wishes to put their name forward, the same process is in Clare as is in Fingal for me, there is a democratic process is in place, the same procedures for me will happen as happened in Clare”.
In response to this, Moran told The Clare Echo, “Louise is correct in saying that the same rules apply to everyone however, it can hardly be called democratic when an outside body such as an Cuige or an Ard Comhairle can prevent the local members from having any say in the decision making process”.
For the 2020 General Election, Sinn Féin topped the poll in Clare with Violet-Anne Wynne representing the party, polling 8,987 first preference votes. Wynne’s resignation from the party in February of last year will not lead to voters turning away from Sinn Féin in Clare, Deputy O’Reilly maintained. “I got the opposite impression when I was there, the obvious regard and support for Donna was very apparent during my visit, if the polls are to be believed we are doing very well”.
According to Deputy O’Reilly her relationship was “very good. I got on very well with her” but she confirmed that Deputy Wynne did not reach out for support when experiencing difficulties within the party. “It’s always sad to see someone go but Violet Anne made a decision that she felt suited herself best”. Deputy Wynne declined to comment on the matter when contacted by The Clare Echo.
Political commentators have expressed the view that Sinn Féin in Government would be bad for multinationals. Last August, Sinn Féin told large multinational companies based in Ireland it is “committed to a high-wage economy”, but will abolish special tax breaks for highly paid executives if elected to government. Senior party figures met with large employers, including the likes of Facebook and Google and other major tech firms at the time.
O’Reilly who is the party’s spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade and Employment stated, “We haven’t made any pronouncements on corporation tax, we’ve no plans to change that but we want greater supports for small and medium sized business and indigenous companies. COVID showed how dependent we were on supply into the country”.
She added, “I was in San Francisco and Vancouver recently, I met with representatives of business and the IDA, one of the issues facing them and business owners is housing”. She continued, “housing is one of the main hindrances for new and existing business expanding in Ireland. Sinn Féin have pledged to bring an end to this housing crisis”.