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Sinn Féin TD `will not run again' in feuding Cork East

Sinn Féin Cork East TD Sandra McLellan said she cannot `risk' another term of being 'undermined'

A Sinn Féin TD whose constituency has been at the centre of a selection row which prompted highly publicised resignations from the party has announced she will not stand in the coming general election.

Cork East TD Sandra McLellan posted a statement on her Facebook page saying her efforts to work for the constituency had been "undermined" and she could not "risk this for another term".

She told the party leadership her decision on Thursday and was asked to reconsider.

"However, I have decided not to contest the upcoming election for Sinn Féin," she told supporters.

Ms McLellan, one of only two female Sinn Féin TDs, had vowed in June she would stand in the constituency, despite the crisis gripping Cork East following the mass resignations.

Dozens of members reportedly quit the party in just 48 hours in Cobh, Carrigtwohill and Fermoy cumainn after party chiefs expelled Cobh-based councillor Kieran McCarthy and suspended his Mallow colleague Melissa Mullane following an internal probe.

Sinn Féin has said only a handful of members have quit.

The pair were both elected to Cork County Council last year.

Mr McCarthy has claimed that sanctions centred around the councillors' desire to run in the 2016 general election, a move that could have put sitting Ms McLellan's future in the Dail in doubt.

The party said that it made the decision after a review of party structures in Cork East amid reports that Cllr McCarthy had been highly critical of Ms McLellan's performance as a TD.

Mr McCarthy accused the party of "stabbing him in the back" and is running as an independent candidate.

Ms Mullane was later readmitted to the party - a move with triggered fresh controversy, with fellow councillor June Murphy resigning from the party over her return.

Ms McLellan was facing serious challenge to hold her seat, with the republican vote split.

In June, the TD said she the internal review had been "fair".

"Nobody likes to lose party members but now is the time to move on from this whole episode and I am looking forward to getting on with the party's work in the constituency and building for the future," she said.

By Saturday, however, she had withdrawn from the fray, with bitter words for those who had opposed her.

"Over the period I have served as a TD my efforts were consistently and persistently undermined by a small number in the constituency that called themselves members of Sinn Féin," she said

"I am not prepared to risk this for another term. I wish (councillor) Pat Buckley all the very best in his campaign and I hope he will not have the same negative experience that I had at the hands of these individuals."

"I did everything in my power to provide good representation in both the constituency and Leinster House.

"It has been an honour to represent the people of Youghal and East Cork as a Sinn Féin TD over the last number of years. I would like to thank my family, friends, constituents and the many Sinn Féin members who stood by me during this period."

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