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McGuigan criticises ‘bizarre’ Electoral Office over police warning

19 September, 2018 - by Philip McGuigan

Sinn Féin MLA Phillip McGuigan has hit out at the Electoral Office’s ‘bizarre’ handling of the Ian Paisley Recall petition after the Chief Electoral Officer asked him to delete a social media post relating to the petition.

“I was contacted today by the Chief Electoral Officer warning me that the police could be asked to investigate a social media video I posted urging people to exercise their democratic right to sign the recall petition to remove Ian Paisley from office over his role in the Sri Lanka scandal.

“Given that the request was made, I complied but I still find it bizarre that the Electoral Office is focusing on social media posts when their handling of the entire petition process has been so poor.

“We all know the reasons why Ian Paisley was suspended from Westminster and the DUP.

“I find it incredible I am being warned about police investigations when I do not believe there was anything in the post that predicted the outcome of the petition. If that is the case, are the bookmakers taking bets or the political pundits offering opinions also going to receive similar calls?

“It’s regretful that the Electoral Office did not pay as much attention to ensuring the people of North Antrim were afforded their democratic rights because they clearly did not do enough to facilitate people who wished to sign the petition.

“They had the option of opening as many as ten locations where people could sign the petition, yet they inexplicably opted to go for just three.

“The lack of an effective public awareness campaign and the restrictive opening hours of the signing centres were also major problems.

“Nevertheless, the issues raised by this scandal are not going away and neither are the questions for the DUP leadership.”

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