DUP MP Gregory Campbell has complained Sinn Féin’s recent Westminster candidate in Foyle, Gearóid Ó hEára, “gatecrashed” a Ministerial photo-opportunity in Ballykelly in the run up to the General Election.
Speaking in the Assembly this morning, Tuesday, June 23, he said: “I tabled a question for written answer to the Minister of Agriculture [Michelle O’Neill] and received a reply in the past few days.
“It was in relation to an invite that she had extended to an event at the proposed DARD headquarters at Ballykelly camp. I had asked her whether invites were sent out to local community associations and local representatives. She said that they were. I indicated to her in a subsequent question that it appeared that an unelected representative from another constituency, who was a Westminster candidate a few weeks after the event, was present at the event and, in fact, was photographed beside her and the deputy First Minister. Yet her reply says that no such person was invited either by the Department or by her. I just wonder whether you, Mr Speaker, could investigate the accuracy of the reply and give advance notice to other Ministers to avoid such gatecrashing in the future.”
The Speaker, Mitchel McLaughlin replied: “The Member has got his point on the record. I suspect that he knows very well that it is not a point of order.
“Ministers take responsibility for the content of their own answers. It is not a matter for the Speaker. The circumstances of that particular event, as a result of you putting it on the record, permits the Minister and her departmental staff to consider the accuracy of the information that they transmitted. Let us move on.”