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Sinn Féin to propose motion of ‘no confidence’ in Deputy Mayor over Strabane PCSP role

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Sinn Féin to propose motion of ‘no confidence’ in Deputy Mayor over Strabane PCSP role thumbnail

ULSTER Unionist councillor and Deputy Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Derek Hussey, is facing a 'no confidence' motion unless he steps down from his position before tomorrow (Thursday) following pressure over his drink-driving convictions.
Speaking ahead of Thursday's full meeting of council in the Guidlhall, Sinn Féin's group leader, Sandra Duffy, says the party intends to propose a motion of no confidence against Mr Hussey.
The Castlederg politician has faced increasing pressure in the last week to resign from his position and his role as chairperson of the Derry and Strabane Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) amidst objections from other elected representatives as well as families who have suffered bereavements due to drink-drivers.
Alderman Hussey - who took up the deputy mayorship at the beginning of June - was appointed to chair of the policing body under the D'Hondt arrangement which sees positions rotated amongst the largest parties on the local authority.
The former MLA has three previous convictions for drink-driving. He was banned for five years and fined £800 in 2016 and has other convictions in 2004 and 2011.
Objections
Sinn Féin raised objections to him taking on the role due to his previous convictions for drink-driving at June's meeting of the Health and Communities Committee.
At the time the party did not formally contest his appointment however it has now revealed its intention to move the vote against him.
Alderman Hussey, who has had a busy week deputising for Mayor John Boyle at a number of events while he was on a council visit to the United States, has previously rejected calls for his resignation.
He said he has no intention of relinquishing either of his roles but did say he would meet with the families who have expressed concerns to talk about the issues.
At the time of his appointment as PCSP chair he said that he regretted his past actions but had been dealt with by the courts.
It is understood he has also spoken to UUP party, leader, Robin Swann, on the matter and has his backing.
A party spokesman said: "(Mr Hussey) was convicted through the courts in relation to his charges, paid his fine, completed his community service and acknowledged what he did was wrong."
His appointment as PCSP chair will have to be ratified at tomorrow's full meeting of council and it is then that Sinn Féin is expected to move its motion.
Even if it secures enough votes in favour, Alderman Hussey cannot be compelled to stand down.
Speaking ahead of the meeting, Cllr Duffy said: "Sinn Féin has already objected to Derek Hussey's appointment as chair of the PCSP on the grounds that someone with repeated drink driving convictions should not be leading a body tasked with public safety matters.
"And while we accept that everyone is entitled to a second chance, it is clear that Derek Hussey has had several but continued to display the most atrocious disregard for public safety.
"This has compounded the trauma of local families bereaved by drink drivers, who have long campaigned for a zero tolerance approach to drink driving. They feel this valuable work is undermined by Derek Hussey remaining in such a senior civic position."
'Public concerns'
She said that bereaved families had "made their feelings very clear" adding "there is obvious public concern over his role in both the PCSP and the office of Deputy Mayor."
Cllr Duffy added: "In light of this, we feel it is inappropriate for Cllr Hussey to continue in his current position. He does not enjoy the confidence of the wider public and is undermining the approach which all public bodies must take to issues such as drink driving which are an ongoing and extremely serious issue in this society.
"Therefore, Sinn Féin will table a motion of no confidence in him at Thursday's full council meeting, if he continues to refuse to listen to the concerns that have been raised.
"We are conscious that, even if passed, such a motion does not compel him to resign. However, it would demonstrate the strength of feeling on this issue and certainly add to the moral pressure on Cllr Hussey and his party.
"I call on the leadership of Cllr Hussey's party to reflect on the strength of feeling on this issue and do the right thing."

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