Dark arts, skulduggery and threats - Just what is going on in Cork East?

We meet the candidates of Cork East to try to understand one of #GE16's most intriguing contests

Dark arts, skulduggery and threats - Just what is going on in Cork East?

One voter chooses cartoons over canvassing Image: Richard Chambers

One of the most intriguing constituencies in this election is Cork East – the legacy of internal conflict in Sinn Féin lingers, while gardaí are currently investigating ‘threatening or intimidating’ messages sent to at least one candidate.

The consistuency national headlines in October of last year when Sinn Féin TD Sandra McLellan announced she would not be contesting the general election, accusing the party of “consistently and persistently” undermining her.

People close to Ms McLellan claimed her treatment was tantamount to bullying.

There was an exodus of grassroots party members, while a number of councillors were suspended or expelled in the aftermath.

Newstalk’s Richard Chambers visited the constituency for The Pat Kenny Show to try to understand better the state of play in Cork East.

The internal disturbances of late 2015 have had “absolutely no impact” on Sinn Féin in Cork, says Pat Buckley, current Sinn Féin candidate in the general electino for Cork East.

“It has never affected me,” he said.

“Absolutely no impact, none whatsoever. Nobody brings it up at the doors.

“I’m the candidate now, it’s a democratic process,” he added.

Gardaí investigating "threatening" messages towards candidates

And Newstalk has reported today that there have been further Garda investigations into “threatening or intimidating” messages being sent to Social Democrats candidate Ken Curtin.

When Newstalk visited the constituency candidates complained of “dark arts” and “skulduggery” at work in the constituency as polling day nears.

Candidates have complained of posters being stolen or defaced – with Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil candidates in particular being targeted.

“There does seem to be an element of skulduggery going on,” Mr Curtin told Newstalk.

“The nicest way I could word is un-gentlemanly conduct. There’s just a nasty element that there’s no place for in any election,” he added.

Minister of State Sean Sherlock, Labour candidate for the constituency, said the reception on the doors around the constituency is “very tough”, with people not “supremely polite”.

Mr Sherlock was less perturbed by the dark arts underway in Cork East.

“I don’t feel intimidated by it. It’s like water off a duck’s back to be honest with you,” he said.

“If the poster is taken by somebody else we just put it back again and smile.”

Listen below to the full report on Cork East from The Pat Kenny Show

Live from @ElectionNT