Sinn Féin’s local election candidate for the Ennis area, Cathal O’Reilly, has resigned from the party, less than 48 hours before the people of Clare go to the polls.
The Ennis butcher was forced from the party after disparaging comments he made about the Traveller community on Facebook three years ago, were brought to the attention of senior members of the party. He offered his resignation this afternoon and it was accepted by Sinn Fein’s Dublin office.
A Sinn Fein spokesperson in Clare told The Clare People that although Mr O’Reilly’s name will appear on the ballot paper for Sinn Féin, the party no longer consider him its candidate, as he is no longer a member of the party. “We are making no comment as to whether people should vote for him or not, as far as we are concerned he is now a private citizen,” he said.
Asked if he believes Mr O’Reilly’s comments have damaged the chances of the other two Sinn Fein candidates running in Clare, the spokesperson said, “They have been running three separate campaigns. Everyone knows that the other two candidates stand up for the ethos of Sinn Fein and they know what that is.”
Local election candidates had until May 6 to withdraw their names from the Clare County Council election if they no longer wished to run. Mr O’Reilly will therefore appear on the Ennis Area ballot paper along with 26 other names. His will still be beside the Sinn Fein logo and officially he will be considered the Sinn Fein candidate.
It is understood that if he is elected he will be asked by Sinn Fein to resign the seat or serve out the five-year term as an Independent. Clare is the only county in the Republic of Ireland not to have a Sinn Féin candidate in every electoral area. The party failed to find a candidate in the Killaloe electoral area, and as of this evening it is no longer accepting Mr O’Reilly as a candidate in Ennis.
Mike McKee will continue to contest the election in the Shannon area for Sinn Fein, while Noeleen Moran will represent the party in West Clare

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