Why did David McClarty vote to sanction Nelson McCausland?
INDEPENDENT MLA David McClarty was the only unionist Assembly Member at Stormont to vote in favour of a motion of no-confidence in Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland.
Here, the East Londonderry representative explains why he voted to sanction Mr McCausland, following remarks the DUP Minister made about a parade outside a Catholic Church in Belfast.
He said: “The overwhelming positive response and support I have received from the general public following my vote in favour of a motion at Stormont that sought to sanction the Minister for Social Development for breaking the Ministerial Code of Conduct has confirmed that I made the right decision. I very much appreciate the kind words and support. I want to make clear why I voted in favour of the motion.
“Firstly, I am a unionist. I stood for election as a unionist, I was elected as an independent unionist and I signed the NI Assembly register as a unionist. Let me be clear. I am a proud unionist, but that won’t or indeed shouldn’t stop me from representing all my constituents in East Londonderry.
“Secondly, I fully support and respect the expression of unionism through parades; parades that are conducted in the good spirit in which they are intended. The illegal, sectarian behaviour that occurred outside St Patricks Church in Belfast was not an expression of unionism, but rather an expression of sectarian hooliganism. Those few, unfortunate individuals do not represent the unionist I am or indeed the wide population of unionists across Northern Ireland. I condemn their behaviour, just as the Minister for Social Development should have done when prompted a month ago. Further, I condemn the Republican antagonists who fuelled the disruption and violence that ensued.
“By not condemning their behaviour, when prompted, Mr McCausland effectively affronted the Ministerial Code of Conduct that he is bound to since assuming office as Minister for Social Development for Northern Ireland. It is the responsibility of the NI Assembly of 108 MLAs to hold the NI Executive to account. Consequently a motion was tabled when a number of MLAs felt that the Minister had not adhered to the Ministerial Code; so I voted in favour.
“I do not accept that my position as a unionist is being undermined by my voting alongside nationalist parties, particularly when the critic’s own party waltzes through the lobbies of Stormont with Sinn Fein almost on a daily basis. The issue here was based on neither unionism nor nationalism, but rather a matter of a Minister not adhering to a Ministerial Code of Conduct. Bear in mind, the Alliance Party and the Green Party also voted in favour of the motion and two other unionists abstained.
“Since my election as an independent representative in May 2011, I am heartened by the unwavering support I have received from all community backgrounds in East Londonderry and throughout Northern Ireland. Most importantly, I am encouraged that my constituents trust that the decisions I make as their MLA are not fuelled by self-promotion, political prejudice or ‘point-scoring’ but are based on balanced consideration of the facts and their best interests. I am nobodies ‘nodding dog’.
“I do not wish to play Orange and Green cat and mouse at Stormont. I will leave that to the main political parties. My politics are local. I will fight for bread and butter issues that affect the people on the ground in East Londonderry. Retaining vital services such as Causeway A&E; protecting local jobs; preventing further destruction of the local economy by campaigning against the closure of HMP Magilligan; advocating for retention of Cardiac care for our children… these are my concerns.”
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Weather for Londonderry
Monday 20 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 8 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: North west