Northern Ireland

Nama scandal: Sinn Féin members 'considering futures'

paul maguire
Image caption Paul Maguire was one of 18 Sinn Féin members who quit in North Antrim

A former Sinn Féin councillor who resigned from the party over the way Daithí McKay was treated claims others are considering their futures as well.

Paul Maguire was one of 18 members who quit in North Antrim last month.

He alleged Mr McKay was forced to resign as an MLA over claims he "coached" a loyalist blogger who gave evidence to a Stormont inquiry.

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said the party wants to engage with former members in the hope they will return.

Paul Maguire, a member of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council and a former chairman of Sinn Féin in North Antrim, said the party knows the 18 members who resigned were "significant" in the local party.

He told BBC One's The View programme: "There are people left but they would be more card-carrying members than activists.

"I know there has been one further resignation and from what I can hear, or what I'm told, there will be more to follow."

Image copyright Press Eye
Image caption Daithi McKay resigned last month over claims he 'coached' loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson before he gave evidence to a Stormont inquiry

"I would find it impossible to think that Daithí McKay would or could be brought back into the party because of the way in which he was made resign and the attitude from the Cúige (Sinn Féin's Ulster Council) since his resignation.

"I'm aware of communication between the Cúige and Daithí McKay since and it hasn't been at all pleasant.

"I can't read Daithí McKay's mind. He resigned because he was made resign. He's suspended by the party.

"There's an inquiry going on at the moment. I can't see that being a meaningful inquiry. I think it's just a box-ticking exercise."

Image caption Mr Adams said he hoped those who had left Sinn Féin would 'reflect' and 'come back to the party'

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams told The View it was "always a negative" when people left the party.

"We are going to engage with every single one of those former members," he said.

"We hope that they will reflect and that they will come back into the party.

"At least one has already done so. I hope others will do so."

In a statement, the party dismissed the claims as "nonsense".

"Daithí McKay resigned and stated clearly that his contact with Jamie Bryson was 'inappropriate' and 'wrong'," Sinn Féin said.

"That was Daithí's decision and was the correct decision."

Daithí McKay has not commented publicly since his resignation as an MLA last month.

The former North Antrim MLA resigned after claims he and another Sinn Féin member "coached" loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson before he gave evidence to a Stormont inquiry, chaired by Mr McKay, into the National Asset Management Agency (Nama) scandal.

The allegations followed leaked Twitter messages between Mr Bryson, Mr McKay and Sinn Féin member Thomas O'Hara.

Mr McKay said he accepted the messages were "inappropriate, ill-advised and wrong".

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