Dickson says McCausland did break Ministerial Code

Alliance Chief Whip Stewart Dickson MLA has stated that by Nelson McCausland’s refusal to condemn the violence that erupted following a parade past St Patrick’s Church on Clifton Street, North Belfast on 25thAugust, he did break the Ministerial Code. He also criticised Mike Nesbitt and the UUP for opposing the Assembly motion that would have censured McCausland. The motion was not passed.

Stewart Dickson MLA said: “The Pledge of Office that all Ministers must sign up require them to ‘uphold the rule of law’. The inability of Nelson McCausland to condemn the sickening violence that we have witnessed in North Belfast, therefore broke the Ministerial Code.

“Executive Ministers must show leadership in supporting the rule of law and condemn any violence.

“It is vitally important that once the determination of the Parades Commission is made, that everybody accept these decisions as the rule of law. In the absence of an alternative, we must accept the Parades Commission as the current regulatory body.

“By failing to support their legally made determination and clearly condemn violence and the threat of violence, the Minister has undermined good relations, support for the police and rule of law. I believe that his stance is inconsistent with holding Ministerial Office.

“I was also disappointed that Mike Nesbitt opposed the censure motion in the Assembly today. It shows that his conference speech of making the UUP appeal to all people has fallen at the first hurdle after 48 hours, if it ever was a runner in the first place. By supporting the DUP he has put another nail in the coffin of the UUP by showing the public that there is no difference between the parties which will lead to people just supporting the bigger party in the DUP.

“There is still a lot of tension in the area, and I would have hoped that the Minister would have seen sense and apologised, and in particular to the police officers that were injured in the violence. By refusing to apologise, he risks the possibility of undermining his position for the rest of his Ministerial tenure and the integrity of our political process.”


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