'bad taste' | 

TD who quit Sinn Féin was upset Mary Lou 'snubbed' birth of her sixth child

Clare deputy Violet-Anne Wynne had baby but ‘hasn’t heard’ from party leader
Violet-Anne Wynne was elected in February 2020 as a TD for Clare

Violet-Anne Wynne was elected in February 2020 as a TD for Clare

Hugh O'Connell

Dáil deputy Violet-Anne Wynne quit Sinn Féin days after she told the party of her disappointment that leader Mary Lou McDonald had not contacted her or even acknowledged the birth of her sixth child.

The Clare TD, who left the party on Thursday, gave birth earlier than expected earlier this month, with local ambulance staff having to help to deliver the baby girl in a car park.

While she received a letter of congratulations from Tánaiste Leo Varadkar of Fine Gael, Ms Wynne said it “left a bad taste” that she had not heard from Ms McDonald at all, even as other party colleagues in Leinster House contacted her.

“I was in effect ignored. I made it quite clear I was not happy and that this was something that was making me consider my future in the party,” Ms Wynne told the Sunday World last night.

“It has left a bad taste. It doesn’t feel good, and not hearing from her around the baby, that really kind of put it into perspective. I received quite a personal congratulations from the Tánaiste.

“I felt it could have been done easily and you question why it wasn’t done.”

She also criticised “mud-slinging” in the wake of her resignation, citing an anonymous Sinn Féin TD who was quoted in the Irish Examiner as saying Ms Wynne “had been through a lot of staff”.

The newly independent TD said she had difficulties with the staff the party had assigned to her. She claimed they had in some instances “dictated” the number of parliamentary questions it would be appropriate to submit and which issues she should speak on in the Dáil.

The Clare deputy confirmed Ms McDonald had still not been in touch with her since she quit the party last Thursday. The Sinn Féin press office did not respond to a request for comment from the party president.

Ms Wynne, who was first elected to the Dáil in 2020, said on Thursday her position in Sinn Féin had become “untenable” and alleged some within the organisation had been seeking to force her to stand down through “gaslighting measures and what can only be described as psychological warfare”.

In her statement, she said she was pressured to hire certain staff, alleged Sinn Féin did not support her sufficiently while she is on maternity leave and said it used her “unplanned pregnancy” as a “further stick to beat me with”.

Sinn Féin, through its deputy whip Denise Mitchell, has said it was “so very sorry” to see Ms Wynne resign, but has not addressed her claims other than to acknowledge “challenges at constituency level”.

Ms Wynne has further alleged she was called an “effin’ eejit” after informing a prominent female party member of her unplanned pregnancy. She described the pregnancy as a “huge shock” to her and her family.

The National Women’s Council (NWC) has said it will not revisit its invitation to Ms McDonald to address its No Woman Left Behind rally despite the controversy.

NWC director Orla O’Connor said questions should be put to Sinn Féin over its “treatment of Ms Wynne”.

Ms McDonald is due to be a keynote speaker at the event, which has already caused controversy over the exclusion of government politicians.

Ms O’Connor told the Sunday World yesterday: “It is wrong that Deputy Violet-Anne Wayne felt so unsupported during her pregnancy, and this raises particular questions about how women are supported by political parties at local level.

“We believe all parties, including Sinn Féin, need to be proactive in their supports and policies for retention of women TDs and questions on the treatment of Deputy Violet-Anne Wynne should be put to Sinn Féin.

“NWC has always and will always work with politicians of all parties and none. The line-up of speakers remains the same.”

The invitation to Ms McDonald had already prompted criticism due to Sinn Féin’s continued justification of the Provisional IRA’s campaign, which included the murder of women and cover-up of sex abuse.

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