John Brady said: ‘To lose any member of the party, particularly someone that had so much to give to the party, is disappointing at any time.’
A Sinn Fein TD has said he regrets the departure of Clare representative Violet-Anne Wynne, who quit the party this week.
Announcing her exit, she said she had been subjected to “psychological warfare” and that her continued membership of the party had become “untenable”.
The TD, who recently gave birth to a daughter, said she is currently on “some form of maternity leave” and alleged that her pregnancy had been used as a “further stick to beat me with”.
John Brady was asked about the allegation, reported by the Sunday Independent newspaper, that party leader Mary Lou McDonald had not contacted Ms Wynne after the birth of her child.
Sending her good wishes and congratulations, Mr Brady said on Sunday: “To lose any member of the party, particularly someone that had so much to give to the party, is disappointing at any time.
“She was a valued member of the team. To lose anyone is severely disappointing.”
He added that the entire Sinn Fein team had congratulated her, including himself.
Ms Wynne described her journey to Leinster House as coming from the “dole to the Dail” and said she had navigated “great difficulties” to get there.
She said she was clear and honest with local party figures in Clare about “what many may call baggage” but alleged the central party was not informed about those issues.
The politician said she felt “pressurised” and was not given autonomy to hire her own staff.
Mr Brady rejected the suggestion that Sinn Fein TDs do not pick their own staff.
“That’s, in my view, complete rubbish. I absolutely got to pick my own staff. There’s a whole process there. If anyone would take the time out to have a look at how we advertise to do the positions,”, he told RTE’s The Week In Politics programme.
On the same programme, Fine Gael junior minister Patrick O’Donovan repeatedly lambasted Sinn Fein.
Asked about recent attacks on the party by Tanaiste and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar, he said: “You don’t need to listen to the words of my leader at all. Just listen to what she said. A campaign of psychological warfare.”
“And of course she’s not the first female TD from that party to fall foul of that party.”
Labour TD Duncan Smith bemoaned what he called the “toxic” exchanges in the Dail and in the TV studio between Sinn Fein, Fine Gael and Fianna Fail.
“This is to feed their social media streams or their social media strategies, which is the bedrock of toxic politics in this country.
“They’re as bad as each other,” he concluded.