Farry calls on Wells to clarify Rathfriland comments in Assembly

Alliance North Down MLA, Stephen Farry, has called on Jim Wells to clarify reported comments that he made to a lesbian couple in Rathfriland on Saturday in which he is alleged to have questioned their lifestyle while he was out canvassing.

Stephen Farry MLA said: “Alliance had expressed scepticism over the nature of Jim Wells’ apology on Friday in terms of whether it would mark a change in his and his party’s behaviour and attitude towards LGBT members of our society. Apologies are meaningless unless lessons are learnt.

“These latest reports of alleged comments and actions now further compound the lack of confidence across the community in Mr Wells in his position as Minister of Health and Social Services. His stated views and alleged behaviour are not compatible with general duties under the Ministerial Code to represent the entire community and to adhere to equality obligations, and his specific ministerial responsibilities in relation to children and families.

“Whilst anyone would have considerable sympathy for the stress which Mr Wells is currently under due to his wife’s illness, it simply cannot be used to excuse such offensive outbursts. He clearly holds those views or would not make such comments.

“In the eyes of many across the community including Alliance, Mr Wells’ position is no longer tenable. It is now up to Mr Wells to make a statement to the Assembly on Monday morning to explain his actions and set out how he thinks he retains any credibility in office. Alliance is also tabling an Urgent Oral Question to require him to attend if he does not do so voluntarily.”


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