Violet-Anne Wynne (SF) is hopeful of paying back her rent arrears of €12,000 in the very near future.
During a video interview with The Clare Echo, the Sinn Féin TD revealed that she has only hired a solicitor in recent weeks in an attempt to sort the matter. In February, the Offaly native had expressed her willingness to donate the arrears of €12,000 to charity. Wynne and her partner John Mountaine were supposed to pay €63 a week for the home when they relocated to the county thanks to Rural Resettlement Ireland (RRI) but built up the arrears before being forced to leave by a court.
“I have got in touch with a solicitor, I didn’t have one beforehand, the situation is with himself now and I’m getting advice from himself as to how I proceed. I have every intention of paying what is owed, that exact figure and it is going to be dealt with in the immediate future, I will have more answers on that in the next two to three weeks as to what way it is going pan out,” Violet-Anne said.
RRI founder, Jim Connolly had stated that he would like the Clare TD to donate the owed money to charity. “Because it is with my solicitor at the moment, I can’t foresee who exactly is going to get the money or where it is going to go, that process will have to be navigated,” she outlined and confirmed that no conversation has taken place between her and Connolly. “It is not something we want to see dragging on for two to three years”.
When asked if she felt her conduct could be followed by constituents, Violet-Anne said, “The focus that it has received, this story in particular throughout the election campaign and how long it has extended on for, I don’t think it will have given the impression or idea that this is a route that they would like to go down, I don’t think anybody would like to have something like this hanging over their heads or to be out there in the public to be discussed without you being able to defend yourself. I’m very mindful that I represent change, I’m not a conventional politician as such, I’m not the typical politician, I don’t think my career is going to follow the normal route, this adds to that, I come from a different background, I am not the usual pristine suit wearing politician, I come from a social welfare background where it was a real struggle in so many other ways, while it may be disgusting in a negative way I think it shows I’m a real person who went through real hardship like we all do and that is what has come from the whole ordeal”.
Becoming a TD has increased Violet-Anne’s daily workload, adjusting to the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the creation of a home office at her Kilrush residence. As well as the day to day engagements, she got drawn into an online dispute on the comments section of a Clare FM article highlighting her views on the delay in COVID-19 results being provided.
She admitted to losing her cool while getting involved with personnel. “I felt I was getting targeted by certain comments that I was doing things that I was trying to undermine the good work that is being done in the crisis. I felt that this was directing the conversation in a way that I hadn’t foreseen or intended, I felt a lot of comments were coming towards myself, there was one or two that said I was sitting on my hands, that was frustrating for me because when you’re at home with five kids and trying to get back to constituents which is exactly what I am doing, I’m working every day, sometimes not finishing until very late at night trying to get back to people. I apologised for my remarks, I don’t want to reverse them in anyway, I think I may have just lost my cool”.
“I do regret my comments, it won’t be something I will be rehearsing in anyway in the future. They can take reassurance in that sense, it’s not something that I do agree with in anyway at all, it is not something I will be repeating. Some comments did come from Fianna Fáil supporters who it does seem are frustrated themselves that Rita didn’t get a seat or that Timmy didn’t retain his seat and also there are supporters out there that are possibly angry that Pat Breen didn’t get to retain his seat, maybe they feel that they can redirect that to myself but I’m in no way responsible for those who have lost their seat”.
Subsequent to the interaction, she was contacted by senior figures within Sinn Féin.