Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

16.56 8 Feb 2020


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A candidate representing Solidarity - People Before Profit in Galway has been suspended by the party after an alleged incident with a young woman last year.

Joe Loughnane, who is contesting the General Election in the Galway West constituency, has been suspended with immediate effect as voters go to the polls nationwide.

The party said on Twitter: "We have been made aware of a situation regarding our Galway candidate. We are taking this matter extremely seriously.

"Such behaviour is completely unacceptable in our organisation and will result in severe sanction.

"The member in question has been suspended with immediate effect."

In a post on its Facebook page, the Galway branch of PBP said it was "shocked and outraged to learn of the actions of Joe Loughnane".

"We send our solidarity and support to the young woman involved.

"It has come to light this morning that he has been physically aggressive with, and damaged the property of, a young woman.

"There is absolutely no place in a proudly socialist feminist party like People Before Profit for people who behave like he has. Disciplinary action will be initiated by party HQ.

"He does not represent us."

The post went on to encourage voters to give their first preference to another candidate in the constituency.

Apology

Mr Loughnane shared the post on his own social media account and issued an apology for "the extremely bad behaviour" he said he committed last year.

He also apologised to the woman in question.

He added: "I have and will do everything I can to rectify this situation. This matter is being taken very seriously."

Later, he confirmed that he had been suspended from the party with immediate effect and would now face disciplinary proceedings. He said he would resign from the party as soon as the woman's experience is dealt with officially.

"There is nothing I can to say to excuse such behaviour. I should know better," he said. "I have been seeing a counsellor and will continue to do so."

"This type of behaviour is the very thing the politics I have tried to represent, rallies against. I have let down that politics, I have let down my party, I have let down all my supporters.

"I have let down the women who have supported me.

"I will be stepping down from all organisations I campaign with. I will be making every effort to ensure I fundamentally address how I can exhibit such behaviour while claiming to stand for equality."

He apologised to the woman involved and said he wanted to reassure the public that he accepts responsibility for his actions.

Feminist Ireland manifesto

The National Women's Council of Ireland said that Mr Loughnane has been deleted from their website as a candidate who signed their Feminist Ireland manifesto in Galway West.

In a statement. Solidarity - People Before Profit said: "We have been made aware of a situation regarding our Galway candidate. We are taking this matter extremely seriously."

"Such behaviour is completely unacceptable in our organisation and will result in severe sanction. The member in question has been suspended with immediate effect."

Additional reporting Michael Staines

Main image: Joe Loughnane. Photo: People Before Profit

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Election 2020 GE2020 Galway West General Election People Before Profit

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