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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 November 2005, 13:46 GMT
SF member critical of suspension
Francie Molloy
Mr Molloy is a councillor on Dungannon District Council
Sinn Fein members should be allowed to express their own opinion, a suspended party member has said.

Francie Molloy was suspended from the party pending a disciplinary hearing after going against party policy on the Review of Public Administration.

Speaking on BBC radio on Tuesday, he spoke against SF policy by opposing the move to reduce the number of district councils to seven.

"There has to be room in all parties for a dissenting voice," he said.

"I think we need discussion. As Gerry Adams said a short time ago at a dinner in Dublin, he doesn't need sheep and he expects people to have different views."

The party's general secretary, Mitchel McLaughlin, said he was the person who told Mr Molloy he was being suspended.

On Wednesday, Mr McLaughlin said that as party secretary it was his job to inform members when disciplinary procedures were being taken against them.

"I did actually have to deliver the message, I have responsibilities as general secretary to apply the party procedures," he said.

Sinn Fein favours seven councils, but Mr Molloy, a veteran republican, said 15 would be better.

He earlier said his position was rooted in the civil rights campaign and that reducing the number of councils to seven would be "a sectarian headcount".

District councils will be cut from 26 to seven - Belfast and six others.

Mr Molloy is a councillor on Dungannon District Council which is set to be scrapped.

He is also a Sinn Fein assembly member for Mid Ulster.

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