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“Suspension of discriminatory Bill welcome” McKay

16 April, 2013

Sinn Féin North Antrim MLA, Daithí McKay has welcomed suspension of consideration of the Private Member’s Bill, tabled by Jim Allister MLA, designed to exclude political former prisoners from holding positions of Special Advisors to Ministers.

Daithí McKay said:

“I welcome this development and hope that the Member recognises the folly of allowing his anti-republican prejudices to colour his political judgement.

“Jim Allister is not requesting suspension of consideration of this Bill because he has all of a sudden accepted the discriminatory nature of it but because he has no other recourse. In his haste to introduce a Bill that was specifically directed at excluding republican political former prisoners from holding positions of influence in the Assembly he failed to examine the competency of his proposed Bill.

“The fact that Jim Allister, did not check to see if his Bill came under the competency of the Assembly to enact, brings into question, his political judgement .

“The Bill is now in serious trouble. The Speaker should immediately clarify whether the Bill is legally competent and within the remit of the Assembly. If it is not then I call on the Speaker, William Hay to rule it incompetent and Kill the Bill.

“This Bill was in contradiction of both the letter and the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement  and it was particularly disappointing to see the SDLP - a party to the Agreement- supporting the main thrust of a Bill of exclusion brought forward by the Traditional Unionist Voice.

“Sinn Féin will continue to oppose any attempts to bring forward legislation that is designed to discriminate against not just former prisoners of the conflict, but any section of society. The days of discrimination, exclusion and second class citizenship are gone and Sinn Féin will not allow them to come back.”

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