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Temporary reprieve for ousted SF councillor

Councillor Kieran McCarthy was expelled from Sinn Fein last month

Sinn Féin has granted a temporary reprieve to a Co Cork councillor who was expelled from the party weeks ago.

The party was accused of heavy-handed tactics last month after it announced the expulsion of Cobh councillor Kieran McCarthy as well as the 12-month suspension of his Mallow colleague Melissa Mullane.

The two councillors had been expected by the party to resign their seats on Cork County Council but both refused to step down.

Mr McCarthy claimed that he had been ousted because of his desire to run in the Republic's next general election which may have damaged sitting TD Sandra McLellan's campaign.

Ms Mullane, who maintained a low profile throughout the row, was also reported to have expressed interest in seeking a Dáil seat.

In a statement, Sinn Féin chairman Declan Kearney yesterday confirmed that Ms Mullane's request for an appeal into her suspension had been granted by the Ard Chomhairle.

He also revealed that the Ard Chomhairle had decided to lift Mr McCarthy's expulsion "in order to allow him a further opportunity to assist the party in its investigation of financial irregularities in the accounts of Cobh Cumann, which is on-going."

Mr McCarthy, who could not be contacted for comment last night, threatened to take legal action after rumours circulated relating to a credit union loan and charity funds

He accused Sinn Féin of using "Machiavellian tactics" to destroy his reputation.

The row has destabilise the entire party in Cork, with up to 84 members reported to have quit in Cobh, Carrigtwohill and Fermoy cumainn in support of the two councillors.

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