A MAJOR row has broken out on the council’s opposition benches, with Cian Prendiville, Anti-Austerity Alliance (AAA) criticising Sinn Fein for voting Labour at the mayoral election.
But Sinn Fein’s Séighin Ó Ceallaigh has hit back, and accused the AAA of having a “short term memory”, pointing out Labour votes helped Cllr Prendiville onto the board of St John’s Hospital.
At the mayoral election this week, the metropolitan district’s three Sinn Fein councillors joined Independent John Gilligan in backing Labour councillor Joe Leddin for the deputy mayoralty.
In return, Labour and Cllr Gilligan backed Cllr Maurice Quinlivan for the mayoralty.
While both candidates ultimately lost to the FG/FF majority, Cllr Prendiville was left surprised that they sided with the “pro-austerity Labour party”.
“I think those who voted for Sinn Fein and John Gilligan would be surprised to see them side with the Labour party over the AAA. Labour are not a left-wing party - they do not represent the workers and the unemployed,” he said.
But Cllr Ó Ceallaigh said: “It is us who are putting forward a motion to reduce the property tax. This is the only thing they [the AAA] were going on about in the local elections. Sinn Fein have been fighting this tax before the AAA were a thought in anybody’s mind. They seem to have short term memories about making a deal with Labour. Only last week, they made deals with Labour and Sinn Fein as well.”
The AAA put forward Cllrs Prendiville and Paul Keller as candidates for the two top jobs in the city.
But they failed to gain any support outside their own party.
Cllr Gilligan said: “I have not made any alliances. But I certainly was not going to sit down with my finger in my mouth and do nothing. I think Joe Leddin would have been a very good counter-balance.”
He added: “I have no intention of walking on somebody just because I do not approve of their policies. That is not what I am about - never was”.
But he hinted that the opposition group on the council hopes to bring Labour to a position where they oppose water and property taxes.
With Fine Gael and Fianna Fail doing a deal to share the top jobs at City and County Hall, there is a truly left-wing opposition with Labour, Sinn Fein and the Anti-Austerity Alliance.
But just weeks into the new council, this now appears to be showing cracks.
Cllr Leddin was not available for comment.