Paul Hogan Has “Refused to allow” Sinn Fein Nomination

Left to Right, Cllr. Paul Hogan and Senator Trevor O’Clochartaigh in Athlone in 2012. This week, the Senator resigned from Sinn Fein over bullying allegations, and Cllr. Hogan has refused to go to convention for Sinn Fein over similar allegations.

Former General Election candidate and current Sinn Fein Councillor and Group Leader Paul Hogan has refused to allow his name to be nominated to contest the Longford/Westmeath Sinn Féin convention to be held in the Longford Arms on Saturday, December 2nd.

Speaking today, Cllr. Hogan said:

“I have written to the General Secretary of Sinn Féin and Rúnaí um Thoghcháin to inform them that I will not be allowing my name to be nominated for the Sinn Féin convention on Saturday 2nd of December 2017.

“Having gone through the membership list, I am confident that I would have received the support in excess of 53% of members who were attending the convention. The vast majority of members are good decent Republicans.

“However, I have highlighted a number of issues internally within Sinn Fein dating back some years. I am continuing to seek justice in this regard. I have also indicated that there a significant cohort of listed members who should not be members of Sinn Féin. It would therefore be hypocritical of me to align myself with these individuals and that is the reason I have refused to allow my name go forward for convention.

“I continue to have the unanimous support of the Costello/Hurson Cumann in Athlone and significant support from the membership throughout the two counties. I know there will be disappointment from my supporters on my refusal to allow my name to be nominated.

“I contested my first election in 2004 and in every election since, I have received substantial support. My support increased substantially in every General Election from a very low beginning when I started out first. This culminated in me hitting the crossbar in the 2016 General Election after 5 days of counts and recounts in Keenagh.

“I want to sincerely thank the 7,824 people that voted for me in all preferences and across every part of Longford and Westmeath in the last General Election. I particularly want to thank my team and my supporters for all their help, guidance and assistance over nearly 15 years.

“I am continuing in my work as an elected representative on Westmeath County Council” concluded Cllr. Hogan.

All Parties Keep Roscommon Property Tax Levels

It was decided by all the parties at Roscommon County Council not to increase their property tax for the coming year, because of a national review being carried out in 2019.

“Obviously there will be an increase in 2019, so I propose to have property tax to remain in 2018 as it was in 2017,” said Cllr. Tony Ward, Independent at the council’s September meeting last week.

His proposal was seconded by his South Roscommon colleague, Cllr. John Keogh, who said the review in two years’ time may have significant impact on families, writes David Flynn.

“We will have to review matters in the lead up to that, and the last thing we want is to place further burdens,” said the Fianna Fail councillor.

Fine Gael’s Cllr. John Naughten, also from South Roscommon also supported the Ward proposal.

“It’s unfortunate that we are not in a position to reduce the property tax, but at least by allowing it to remain the same there is no extra burden on families,” said Cllr. Naughten.   “Hopefully we will be able to deliver additional services to people in the year ahead.”




Paul Hogan Details Sinn Fein ‘Kangaroo Court’ though SF Dispute Claims

A former Mayor of Athlone, and current Sinn Fein councillor, Paul Hogan has reiterated his criticism of his party, following on from his statement last week, and has made new claims about life inside Sinn Fein.   However the party also responded to his claims to the media last week.

Last week, Cllr. Hogan accused the party of engaging in bullying, and kangaroo courts. This week he gives great detail of the “kangaroo court”, and is critical of party president, Gerry Adams for not visiting Athlone Town in the winter of 2015/16 during the floods.

In a statement to the media following Cllr. Hogan’s surprise statement last week, Sinn Fein responded to the Hogan statement.

Their statement said:

Sinn Féin’s National Investigations Committee has dealt with the complaints made by Councillor Hogan.

Previously the party had received complaints about Councillor Hogan which were not upheld and Councillor Hogan was exonerated.

Since then the party has done all in its power to heal the rifts within the constituency and the majority of members are continuing the work of the party with Councillor Hogan.

It is not true to say that Councillor Hogan received little or no support from Sinn Féin in the general election. In fact the party president Gerry Adams was in the constituency canvassing with Councillor Hogan during the campaign.

Sinn Féin takes these matters extremely seriously. In accordance with legal advice to the party we have established a National Investigation Committee to handle complaints of this nature. We are not involved in kangaroo courts and we reject this allegation in the strongest terms.

Death threats and hate mail are a matter for An Garda Síochana and the party has told Councillor Hogan this.

However Cllr. Hogan released a further statement this week highlighting his experiences inside Sinn Fein over the past two years. He goes into detail about his ‘Kangaroo Court’ experience.

Cllr. Hogan stated on Monday, July 3rd.

“I wish to clarify a number of issues in relation to statements released in response to my public statement on bullying within Sinn Féin last week.

“Firstly, it is not true to state that “Sinn Féin’s National Investigations Committee has dealt with the complaints made by Councillor Hogan”. In fact, on the 3rd of March 2017, I received correspondence from the Chairperson of the National Investigations Committee to essentially say that the Committee would not deal with the complaint as it was ‘too wide-ranging’ and that the Chairperson felt it ‘impossible’ for the committee to deal with my complaint. It also stated that I could not make a statement against the party itself. This reply came five months after I submitted the complaint.

“Since my exoneration, the party has done all in its power to isolate and marginalise any structure of the organisation, which supported my candidature. They have also isolated and marginalised any individual who supported my candidature.

“I also stand over my assertion that I received little or no support from Sinn Féin. In fact, from November 2015, all resources were withdrawn from Longford/Westmeath. My publications including introductory canvass cards and posters were withheld for weeks and months respectively. We were not invited to canvass training. Despite repeated requests for a leadership visit to County Longford, none was forthcoming. The party president Gerry Adams did visit Mullingar for approximately 45 minutes and that was basically the entire contribution by the party to my election campaign. The party leadership also chose not to visit Athlone when much of the town was devastated by floods.

“On October 16th 2015, I was subjected to a kangaroo court, where the verdict was decided in advance of the meeting. I had no right to reply. I stated my innocence to these two individuals and was told that they didn’t care, that the decision was made and I was to support the female candidate that management had lined up to replace me. They told me I could remain as a Sinn Féin councillor, group leader and member. I would expect any member guilty of the allegations relayed to me to be expelled from the party, and not remain as an elected representative or member. I was told I had 6 hours to make my decision and that the matter was on the agenda of the Ard Chomhairle scheduled to meet the following morning. I was told that I would be suspended indefinitely without prejudice, that the leadership would release a statement and in that scenario I wouldn’t be able to contest the election anyway. In any person’s language, this was a kangaroo court and many of my rights as a citizen and as a Sinn Féin member were broken or infringed at this meeting.

“I previously informed the party that I had met with An Garda Síochána in relation to hate mail and the death threat.

“I am calling for major reform on how the party deals with complaints. Many members and former members of the party have contacted me in the last number of days. There is widespread turmoil within the party and there needs to be a radical shake up of middle management.

“I want to thank everyone who has offered their support to me in the last few days and your messages are a great source of support in this very difficult time” concluded Cllr. Hogan.

“Bullying is Rife in Sinn Fein,” – Long Time Member Breaks Silence

A statement released yesterday by a Sinn Fein councillor from Athlone has opened up an amazing can of worms about his experience in recent years inside the generally secretive political party. While there have been public rows among members over the past few years nothing has come through like this statement, where the local politician talks of “Bullying,” “whispering campaigns,” and more dramatically, “Kangaroo Courts,” inside Sinn Fein.

Westmeath County Councillor Paul Hogan says bullying is rife in Sinn Féin across the country including Longford and Westmeath. Cllr. Hogan asserts that he is a victim of intense bullying since October 2015 and that there is a constant whispering campaign against him by some members of Sinn Féin.

Cllr. Hogan stated:

“I am an elected representative for the last 13 years and have an impeccable record and reputation of hard work and delivery for the people of this constituency. I am a founding member of the re-established Costello/Hurson Cumann in Athlone since 2003 and a member of Sinn Féin since 1998. I have contested seven elections at a local and national level since 2004. I have also previously served as a member of Sinn Féin’s Ard Chomhairle for a number of years and Chairperson of the provincial Sinn Féin structure.

“However, after a relationship break-up with a former partner, which subsequently turned acrimonious, I was the victim of a spurious and unrelenting campaign of whispering and innuendo, accusing me of the most insidious and vile allegations. Despite a clear conflict of interest in the establishment of an inquiry, all of these allegations were found to be untrue.

“I was subjected to at least one kangaroo court. I have been bullied since October 2015. I have been intimidated and threatened. I have received a death threat. I am the victim of an anonymous hate mail campaign.

“I received little or no support from Sinn Féin in the last General Election. In fact, Sinn Fein’s management line withdrew all resources from my campaign and actually tried to hide posters and literature, paid for by the local organisation. Some members of Sinn Féin canvassed against me. As many will recall, I hit the crossbar in last year’s General Election, losing out by a mere 280 votes, out of a total of 55,816 votes. This is a margin of 0.5% and I firmly believe the campaign against me lost Sinn Féin a seat in the Longford/ Westmeath constituency.

“I documented all what happened to me detailing the kangaroo court, threats, intimidation, bullying, witch-hunts and whispering campaigns. I then submitted an official complaint of over eighty instances of varying levels of bullying to the new Disciplinary Committee of Sinn Féin who refused to deal with the issues contained in the complaint. This is a clear attempt to cover-up and protect those who tried to destroy my reputation.

“Since the election, I and any of the local structures who supported me were subjected to a policy of isolation and marginalisation. Rules were broken or made up when it suited the party.

“This is my first time speaking publicly on what I have endured. This 20 month ordeal has had a very negative impact on my health. I have received medical assistance on a number of occasions and underwent a surgical procedure caused by the stress I have endured. This has also impacted on my daily level of work.

“Bullying is rife within Sinn Féin and I can give many examples of same. The vast majority of Sinn Féin members are good people, but there are some who are allowed to sully Republicanism in the most anti-Republican manner.

“I would like to thank the members of my local organisation in Athlone who have stood with me every step of the way. I would also like to thank the members of Mid-Longford Sinn Fein and North Longford Sinn Féin who rescinded their membership because of the way I was treated by the party. I would like to thank my council colleague Cllr. Úna D’Arcy for all of her support too. I also want to thank my family and partner for their unstinting support during this very difficult time. Lastly, and most sincerely, I want to thank the people of Longford/Westmeath, all 7,824 of them, who placed their trust in me by voting for me in the last election.

“I will continue to serve the people who elected me to the best of my ability”.




Aengus O’Rourke Becomes Athlone Mayor

Cllr. Aengus O’Rourke

The most recent member of the Lenihan political dynasty has become Athlone town Mayor with unanimous support from the members of the town’s municipal district.

Cllr. Aengus O’Rourke is the son of former Minister Mary O’Rourke, and cousin of the late Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan Jnr.   O’Rourke’s grandfather, PJ Lenihan was a TD for Longford/Westmeath in the early 1960s, and uncle, Brian Lenihan Snr. was a seven time Minister.

The new Athlone Mayor for 2017/18 saw his candidature proposed on Monday afternoon by his Fianna Fail colleague, Cllr. Frankie Keena, and seconded by Fine Gael’s Cllr. Tom Farrell. He also got support from Independent member, Cllr. Michael O’Brien, and there was no other challenger to Cllr. O’Rourke, writes David Flynn.

Mayor Aengus O’Rourke joined Athlone Town Council in 2009, and when it became a municipal district in 2014, he won his seat back. Also in 2014, he was the Fianna Fail candidate in the Longford/Westmeath by-election, following the death of Deputy Nicky McFadden. In the election he came second to the then Deputy Gabrielle McFadden.

O’Rourke is a popular member of Athlone Municipal District, and was Deputy Mayor in 2014/15 to his Fianna Fail colleague, Frankie Keena.

Former Minister Mary O’Rourke was in the public gallery alongside other members of Mayor O’Rourke’s family, including his wife Lisa and their children.

The new Deputy Mayor of Athlone is Cllr. Frankie Keena having being proposed by Fine Gael’s Cllr. John Dolan and seconded by Cllr. Farrell.  He was also supported unanimously, and endorsed by Sinn Fein’s Cllr. Paul Hogan.



Letters of a Successful TD – Theatre Review

Although written in the mid 1960s, the John B. Keane book of the same title as the play that is currently in the Gaiety Theatre could be written this very day.  

Despite all that is currently going on in government buildings – for real political watchers there is only one theatre to be in, and one story to enjoy, and that is the play, ‘Letters of a Successful TD’. The two hander stars Mary McEvoy and Jon Kenny of D’Unbelievables.

Mary McEvoy is a great actress, from her 17 years as Biddy on TV’s ‘Glenroe’ to her theatre touring over the past 17 years. However Jon Kenny, as Tull McAdoo TD, was quite a revelation here, because while comedy was to the forefront of his many performances here, he also showed that he could work on emotion and drama, writes David Flynn.

The two actors portray about 10 characters each, and the play is actually based on two of John B’s books, ‘The Letters of a Successful TD and ‘An Irish Minister of State’. It was adapted by the two actors and Michael Scott.

It is bizarre how nothing has changed in politics since the 60s, when Keane wrote his books.

Elections and re-elections are featured throughout the interesting story. The play talked about stuff like a TD buying land knowing that the land is up for development and making sure it is not in the TDs name. The dreaded ‘Independent’ name is uttered from start to finish. Also there is the creation of Ministers portfolios to please a candidate, and the adding of a candidate in a constituency to make life difficult for an older TD.

However standing outside the comedy, the play also shows the hard life experienced by a TD, where many sacrifices have to be made, not least of which is family life.

Lighting was well handled when needed and key lights were spot on for both Mary and Jon.

It’s well worth a look either in the Gaiety Theatre before it ends its run on February 18th, or later on, when it comes down the country. It’s a constant laugh throughout, thanks in no small measure to McEvoy and Kenny.

It’s not said which of the political parties Tull McAdoo is a member of, but for all political watchers ‘Letters of a Successful TD’ is a must.