Political news

Sinn Féin will not publish review of Foyle constituency

Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald. Picture by Mal McCann
Dominic McGrath, PA

Sinn Fein has said it will not publish an internal review into the party’s operations in Derry.

Speaking in Dublin at the party’s think-in, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said that the review was now complete but confirmed that it would not be published.

Padraig Delargy and Ciara Ferguson were last week selected as the new MLAs to represent Foyle in the Assembly by Sinn Féin.

The party held a selection convention at the Everglades hotel in Derry last week, to replace the outgoing Martina Anderson and Karen Mullan.

Ms Anderson and Ms Mullan stepped down from the Assembly after being controversially asked to consider their positions by the party hierarchy following an internal review into its operations in Derry.

Ms McDonald said the review had been finished: “The work of rebuilding in Derry and giving the best possible representation that we can to the people of Foyle is now under way.”

“What we’ve learned is that you have to be prepared to very honestly review and you have to be prepared to lead change and to do better.

“I think certainly having been in Derry many times now and speaking to activists there’s a real appetite now to move on and to do better and I believe we will.”

Asked by PA news agency whether that internal review would be published, Ms McDonald said the party was not planning to do so.

Last week, Fianna Fáil gathered in Co Cavan to discuss the party’s recent electoral fortunes following a review of the last general election.

At the time, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that it was “unique” that his party had published the review into its electoral performance “warts and all”.

Ms McDonald said: “There was a party review into a constituency, by the way we’ve done these reviews before. So that’s a matter for the party, for our members.

“It’s a process that everybody participated in.

“The outworkings of it are obvious.”

“We’re up and at it now and we’re cracking again.

“We’ve two very, very strong, very able MLAs in place now and we’re delighted with that.”

In April, Sinn Féin MLA Conor Murphy said the party was “attempting to fix” internal issues in Derry following recent election disappointments.

Elisha McCallion lost the Foyle Westminster seat to SDLP leader Colum Eastwood in 2019 by more than 17,000 votes and in the same year the party lost its majority on Derry City Council to the SDLP.

In May, members of Ms Anderson’s family spoke out, claiming she had been “sacrificed” by the party.

In a post on Facebook, her sister Sharon Burke said that Sinn Féin had “come into Derry to fix problems and left creating more”.

Last month, Ms Anderson said she had taken the decision to step aside as Foyle MLA earlier than planned to give the newly selected candidates an “opportunity to establish themselves as public representatives in advance of the next Assembly election”.

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