THE Anti-Austerity Alliance (AAA) has confirmed it is considering legal action against Sinn Fein councillor Séighin Ó Ceallaigh over “very serious and untrue slurs” he allegedly made about the party.
An AAA spokesperson said its solicitor has written to the City East polltopper expressing the party’s “disappointment with certain untrue and damaging public statements” made against themselves and the closely-aligned ‘We Won’t Pay’ movement.
It is understood Cllr Ó Ceallaigh made claims relating to the accountability of the AAA and the ‘We won’t pay’ movement.
The comment was allegedly made through Facebook in the first instance.
AAA leader Cllr Cian Prendiville said it is the view of the party’s solicitor the claim made was “potentially defamatory”.
But Sinn Fein’s council leader Maurice Quinlivan has accused the AAA of being “childish”, and said the two left-wing groups should be working together.
“The only people who will benefit from this will be the conservative alliance of Fianna Fail and Fine Gael,” he added.
In a statement, the AAA said: “Cllr Ó Ceallaigh recently made a series of very serious and untrue slurs against the AAA and the We Won’t Pay campaign which went way beyond what you would expect even from the establishment parties. We felt the claims were so serious and false that we had to reply, and seek to get these statements withdrawn, and our good name restored”.
Cllr Quinlivan called on the AAA to withdraw the “legal threat”.
He said: “I am disappointed the AAA has issued a legal threat against one of our councillors. It would have been better to sit down together and have the issue resolved that way. We are trying our best to create a left alliance on the council.”
He pointed out that Sinn Fein - which has six councillors to the AAA’s three - has been supportive of all proposals brought to local authority meetings by Cllrs Prendiville, John Loftus and Paul Keller.
However, the AAA said: “The ‘We Won’t Pay’ campaign have a huge task ahead of us to organise non-payment of the water bills. Unfortunately Sinn Fein do not call for a boycott, but we would hope at least they will stop trying to undermine the work of those who do.”
But Cllr Quinlivan said it is his party taking the lead opposing austerity.