Wednesday, 9th May 2012
Joe KellyOne of Sinn Fein's longest serving members in Waterford announced his resignation from the party this week.
In a statement to the media, former City Councillor Joe Kelly said he had been overlooked by the party on a number of occasions since he lost his seat in the last Local Elections and had been badly treated by a small minority within the party. who 'acted undemocratically and have an excessive influence on decisions'.
However Mr. Kelly added that he would remain in local politics as an independent thinker and community volunteer, advocating on behalf of local people and communities. He also confirmed that he would contest the next Local Elections as an Independent candidate.
"I lost my City Council seat by a handful of votes at the last local election. My party colleague at the time David Cullinane retained his seat and a few weeks after the election decided to stand down from his position as party organiser for the city and county, in order to concentrate on his Council work. Following his resignation, a relatively new party member was selected to replace David as organiser".
"I was completely overlooked for this role, not even being asked if I was interested, even though I felt I was highly qualified for the position. I was disappointed with that decision but I carried on as a member, even though I felt slighted at not being considered.
"Following David Cullinane's election to the Seanad last year and the subsequent vacant Council seat I was very disappointed, to say the least, when the party chose an inexperienced member to replace David on the City Council. I felt at the time, and still do, that strategically I was the best person to fill the seat. Being the only party member to have served on the Council for the previous five years, building up strong working relationships with local authority staff in the process, it made sense that I should replace him. In addition to this, I had developed extensive media contacts and experience, as well as built strong links within communities across Waterford city. I found it very difficult to understand and accept the decision, but accept it I did and continued to work for the party, right through the recent Presidential election.
"During the Presidential election campaign, a local leaflet outlining clinic times for David Cullinane and Sinn Fein councillors was produced which also gave details of local representatives in areas where the party did not have an elected councillor. This included the City North area (Ward 1) where I had been a City Councillor. To my disgust, I discovered that I had been replaced as the representative for Ward 1 and another party member was listed instead of me, one who had no experience representing constituents.
"I wasn't even shown the courtesy of being told about this change, which was a real insult and certainly beyond what I was prepared to accept. This is not the way any party member should be treated and this was the final straw as far as I was concerned. I would however stress that I bear no animosity towards many members of Sinn Fein, who had nothing to do with this decision.
"I wish to thank all the people who have supported me and voted for me over the years. I intend to remain in local politics, campaigning on issues that are important to the people of Ward 1 and Waterford city as a whole, and I am looking forward to contesting the next local elections as an Independent candidate".
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