Councillors from both Sinn Féin and the Social Democrats have been sanctioned by their parties after holidaying in countries not on the Republic’s “green list”.
Travel to non-green list destinations has been advised against by the Government, with travellers from these countries required to self-isolate for 14 days upon their arrival in the Republic to help curb the spread of Covid-19.
The party whip has been removed from Sinn Féin Monaghan councillor Cathy Bennett, after she travelled to Lanzarote in a trip breaching party guidance and health advice on international travel.
In a statement this afternoon, Sinn Féin group leader on Monaghan County Council Cllr Brian McKenna said: “On foot of a recommendation from the Sinn Féin national councillors forum, I have today withdrawn the Sinn Féin whip from Cllr Cathy Bennett.
I know that this move will add further embarrassment to Cathy and her family but I also know she will accept this sanction in recognition of her mistake and the hurt that has been caused to members of the public.
“Cathy breached party guidance and public health advice regarding international travel. She is deeply sorry for her actions and I know that she is sincere in her apologies and regret. However, it is vitally important that elected representatives show leadership in respecting the necessary public health advice so that we can collectively tackle Covid-19.
“I know that this move will add further embarrassment to Cathy and her family but I also know she will accept this sanction in recognition of her mistake and the hurt that has been caused to members of the public.”
The Social Democrats party has also removed the whip for six months from Kildare councillor Bill Clear, after he travelled to Spain with his family.
Cllr Clear has apologised to his constituents, saying the trip to the country was in poor judgement. He has also resigned from his role as Deputy Mayor of Naas.
In a statement, Cllr Clear said: "I have apologised and expressed regret at my actions in relation to a recent family trip to Spain, and I reiterate again my sincere apology to the people I represent and to my fellow councillors in Kildare."
The party expects its public representatives to uphold high standards in public office and regret this lapse in judgement by Cllr Clear.
The Social Democrats party also issued a statement following a meeting of its national executive on the matter yesterday evening: "Cllr Clear accepts that he exercised poor judgement relating to his travel to and return from Spain."
"The national executive this evening considered Cllr Clear’s explanation for his trip to Spain and his failure to adhere to public health guidance. The national executive have taken into account the seriousness of the issue, his expressions of regret, and the actions he has already taken to demonstrate that regret.
"The party expects its public representatives to uphold high standards in public office and regret this lapse in judgement by Cllr Clear, who has to date been a strong representative for his constituents in Naas Municipal District. Accordingly, the national executive have decided to remove the whip from Cllr Clear for a period of six months, beginning immediately."