JOHN Loftus has said he will remain on City and County Council despite being thrown out of the Anti-Austerity Alliance (AAA).
The City West councillor is no longer considered a member of the AAA after he threatened to cut the throat of activist Greg Doran.
In a private Facebook message, he wrote: “I tried to be nice. The next time I see you, i’ll cut your f***** throat. Insult me and you’re dead.”
The incident occurred after the men had got into a heated exchange on the AAA’s funding.
At an emergency meeting on Tuesday night, the Limerick branch of the AAA requested Cllr Loftus stand down “otherwise we no longer consider him a member of the AAA”. They gave him a deadline to do this of 9am this Wednesday.
But Cllr Loftus - who gave “an unreserved apology” to Mr Doran, and other people he feels he has let down - insists he will remain a local councillor.
And he also criticised the AAA, saying he is “saddened” at the way the group has treated him. In a statement, the Limerick AAA said Cllr Loftus’s comments represented “a catastrophic misjudgement for a public representative and brings the AAA and council into disrepute”.
“Activists felt anything less than resignation as a councillor would not really be credible given the strong opposition in the community to threats, intimidation and violence, and would leave a question mark as to whether Cllr Loftus or the AAA really treated this situation with the seriousness it deserves,” the group added.
Cllr Loftus said: “Right now, I am not stepping aside. I was elected by the people of City West. I have had lots of emails from people, I have had telephone calls and texts from people who voted for me, and even some who didn’t, testifying to my character as a person. People raise their voices, but there is no way I have ever risen a finger to anyone.”
He said he is “personally very disappointed” with the AAA, and feels there are people in the party “who have it in for me”.
He asked: “Where is the due procedure? They made a statement long before I got back. I had no chance to explain myself, and I am really saddened by this.
“I have not been disciplined by the party – I have just been sacked.”
The AAA’s view is it was they who won the seat, and they should be allowed to co-opt one of their own members on Cllr Loftus’s place.
But the Scottish-born councillor is within his rights to remain on the council.
“I was elected as an individual. If the overwhelming majority of the people in City West say they do not want me, I will reconsider. But I am a decent, honourable man, who had one moment of madness,” he said.
An AAA spokesman said the affair has been “regrettable,” but added they feel the party responded “appropriately and promptly”.