Trouble brews among Limerick Sinn Féin activists

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Sinn FŽin local election candidate John Nugent at the Geraldines' soccer pitch.
Garryowen Residents Association Chairman and Sinn Fein activist John Nugent.

LIMERICK Sinn Féin activist John Nugent has taken issue with the party’s filling of the vacant seat in City North after Cllr John Costelloe’s recent departure.

Sinn Féin Limerick City this week announced the co-option of Tom Collopy of Assumpta Park, Island Road to fill the seat on Limerick City and County Council vacated by Costelloe.

However, John Nugent, who stood in the 2019 local elections as a Sinn Féin candidate, explained to the Limerick Post why he turned down a nomination to replace Cllr Costelloe in the run up to a recent convention.

Mr Nugent says he believes that the process to fill the vacant seat was dealt with in an “underhanded fashion” by the local party hierarchy.

“For instance, the local cumann were told to hold off on any meetings. This essentially stifled any talks on the issue, yet all the while discussions were being held with what is now Cllr Costelloe’s replacement. It seems bizarre that a party that aspires to an Ireland of equals can’t bring themselves to treat their own members as equals,” he claimed.

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Mr Nugent added that Sinn Féin were aware of Cllr Costelloe’s impending resignation since February. He claims that instead of acting in a timely manner, they chose the opposite and left the North ward underrepresented.

“This is an issue thats been brought to my attention on a daily basis.”

Mr Nugent also maintains that not much consideration was given to the wishes of the electorate, especially in Garryowen and its surrounds.

“As a candidate in these areas, I received a lot of support and was available, yet the party hierarchy chose to support a candidate who had no mandate. It was the transfers from these areas that gave the party a second seat, something they are loath to mention.

“You will hear Sinn Féin talk about the importance of having a mandate in the Dáil and in the North, but the concept seems to be lost on the party locally.”

“It’s important to add that the incoming replacement did not stand in 2019, and has indicated that he won’t be standing in 2024. What communities need are people willing to represent them in the long term, be part of their vision for the future.

“It seems what Sinn Féin is offering is short term cronyism. When the electorate vote they expect to be represented, but what we have here is those votes being taken and used to represent the party hob nobs’ self interests.

“The whole scenario lacks any semblance of integrity. All I have left to say is that I promised my community in 2019 that regardless of the outcome of the election I’d still carry on working on the ground. I have and will continue to stand over that promise.”

In response, a Sinn Féin spokesperson told the Limerick Post that John Nugent did not put himself forward to the recent selection convention to select a new Sinn Féin councillor for Limerick City North, despite receiving a valid nomination.

“We wish him the very best for the future,” the spokesperson added.