DUP North Antrim MLA and Policing Board representative Mervyn Storey has confirmed that his Party will table a motion in the Assembly calling on the Justice Minister to remove Sinn Fein’s Gerry Kelly as a member of the Northern Ireland Policing Board if he fails to reaffirm commitment to the rule of law.
Mr Storey outlined the plans in today's Belfast Telegraph after Mr Kelly’s recent tweet glorifying the escape of IRA terrorists from the Maze Prison in 1983, during which twenty prison officers were attacked, including one officer who tragically died.
Mr Storey said:
‘‘As an MLA and a Member of the Northern Ireland Policing Board Gerry Kelly is duty bound to uphold and support the rule of law and commit to exclusively peaceful and democratic means. Yet time after time he has abandoned his responsibilities.
Whether it be using bolt cutters to evade parking enforcement, participating in the Bobby Storey funeral in flagrant breach of Covid-19 regulations or this latest tweet glorifying violence, he has demonstrated little desire to stay on the right side of the law.
Under Schedule 1 Paragraph 9 (1) of the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000 the Justice Minister may remove a member of the Policing Board if she is not satisfied that he or she is committed to non-violence or exclusively peaceful and democratic means. Naomi Long has given Gerry Kelly the opportunity to reaffirm his commitment to these principles but by her own definition there must be serious consequences if this request and threshold is not met.
The DUP will be tabling a motion to the Assembly calling for Mr Kelly’s removal from his role on the Policing Board if he fails to acknowledge the hurt and damage caused by his actions and restate support for law and order. This is essential for public confidence and we hope that other parties will join with us in giving these matters the attention they demand.
It is high time Gerry Kelly stepped up to the plate and set the tone for support for the rule of law not just in the communities they represent but across Northern Ireland. There can be no excuse for a pick and choose attitude to the law. As they continue to relentlessly pursue high standards from others, including PSNI, it is time Sinn Fein finally practiced what they preached.’’