McCarthy says Assembly should have supported Independent Commissioner’s ruling to expel Jim Wells

Alliance Standards and Privileges Committee member Kieran McCarthy MLA has expressed his disappointed that the Assembly did not accept the findings of a report by the Interim Commissioner on Standards on two complaints against Jim Wells. The Assembly voted against expelling the Member for a week despite the Commissioner finding that Jim Wells did break the Code of Conduct.

Kieran McCarthy MLA said: “I am disappointed that the debate turned into a slanging match, rather than discussing a serious issue about a Member breaking the code of conduct.

“While the appointment of Mary McArdle as special advisor to the Culture Minister created hurt, in particular to the family of Mary Travers, who I sympathise with, the issue here is the manner in which Mr Wells expressed his opinion. When you confront someone in the corridor, call them a monster, point your finger in their face and warn them to keep out of certain areas you have crossed the line into unacceptable behaviour.

“The Commissioner was appointed at the behest of the Committee, and he independently conducted his investigation and found Mr Wells behaviour to have contravened the Principles of Conduct of Respect and Good Working Relationships. I find it disappointing that Mr Wells did not take the opportunity to apologise and as such forced the Committee to recommend that he be suspended.

“Surely once an independent Commissioner has made his recommendations it is the duty of the Assembly to respect and take on board his findings. I am disappointing that Unionists dismissed the work of the Committee and undermined the findings of the interim Commissioner. This vote undermines the validity of future reports that the Committee may make.”


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