SINN FÉIN is set to hold a high-level special meeting to discuss the fallout from the party's recent poor electoral performance and the internal crisis that has led to a number of defections, the Sunday Tribune can reveal.
Members of the party's national executive or 'Ard Chomhairle', Oireachtas members and Northern MLAs, along with the party's 'middle tier of leadership' will attend the special meeting in August. The future direction of the party in the south will be high on the agenda.
News of the crunch meeting comes after Dublin city councillor Louise Minihan followed in the footsteps of veteran Dublin councillor Christy Burke, Wexford councillor John Dwyer and Strabane councillor Gerard Foley, when she left the party last week.
Party sources also claim that, even though councillors have defected for different reasons, there has been a growing sense of disillusionment in the party.
The current strife has been highlighted by some rare internal criticism of the party in a recent article in the party's weekly newspaper An Phoblacht.
Kerry councillor and recent Euro election candidate, Toireasa Ferris penned the frank article where she criticised the party claiming it was "neither a credible alternative to the government nor a party of protest".
She admitted that the electorate in the south sees "us as a northern–based party irrelevant to the everyday concerns of people in the 26 counties".
"Sinn Féin simply means nothing to the bulk of people in the south," she said.