A Wicklow councillor expelled from Sinn Féin has said the party did not even have the courtesy to tell him about the expulsion.

Councillor Gerry O'Neill said he, along with fellow councillors John Snell and Oliver O'Brien, had previously lost the party whip.

This follows a dispute over the appointment of Councillor Nicola Lawless as Sinn Féin group leader on Wicklow County Council.

Cllr O'Neill said the move was part of a wider bid by the party to control councillors and make them "nodding dogs."

In a statement this afternoon, Chairperson of Sinn Féin's Ireland South Cúige David Cullinane said the party had tried for 18 months to resolve the dispute in the council.

The Waterford TD said: "A resolution has not been possible and the Sinn Féin Ard Comhairle has moved to expel from the party three councillors who have failed to attend council team meetings over the past 18 months.

"Sinn Féin is moving on from this dispute and the Council team will continue to deliver for the people of Wicklow"

Cllr O’Neill said the three councilors are still paid up members of Sinn Féin and they are shocked at the announcement.

Sinn Féin has said that it informed the three councillors of their expulsion by email and letter.

Earlier Cllr O'Neill said he only learned of the expulsion when contacted by RTÉ News today.