Below is a letter sent this morning to the Assembly Commissioner for Standards.
Mr Douglas Bain
Northern Ireland Assembly Commissioner for Standards
12th August 2013
Dear Mr Bain,
I write to make a formal complaint against Gerry Kelly MLA following his attendance at a parade and a speech he delivered at the event on Sunday 11th August in Castlederg, Co Tyrone.
The Code of Conduct states that: “Members have a duty to uphold the law and to act on all occasions in accordance with the public trust placed in them” and “Members will act in a way that is conducive to promoting good relations by providing a positive example for the wider community to follow by acting justly and promoting a culture of respect for the law.” The Parades Commission determination in relation to the Castlederg parade clearly stated that no paramilitary-style clothing was to be worn at any time during the parade and that there were to be no depictions of weaponry. Both of these conditions were, as you can see from the enclosed photographs, breached.
Furthermore, the Code states: “Members have a general duty to act in the interests of the community as a whole.” It is evident that in celebrating the lives of two men who were blown up by their own bomb in the town they intended to attack the event addressed by Kelly has seriously damaged community relations.
I also invite you to study Kelly’s speech at the event in light of these aspects of the Code. I have enclosed a copy of the same and would draw your attention to where he accuses the opponents of the commemoration of “bigotry”. As you will be aware, the victims of Republican violence in Castlederg took the lead in opposing the parade and it was those who lost loved ones who protested within sight of the Republican marchers. To accuse these people of acting because of bigotry is grossly insulting.
Also, you will note that Kelly claims that Seamus Harvey and Gerard McGlynn “gave their lives so that we could be free.” They did not, as suggested, give their lives. Their lives were, rather, providentially taken from them before they could get their bomb to Castlederg. They were not freedom fighters but rather men bent on murder and destruction. I would ask you to investigate whether it is compatible with the Code of Conduct for Kelly to have said this in the town they intended to blow up.
You will also note how Kelly lauds terrorism saying: “These 2 young men could have made different choices in life. They could’ve avoided the risks of imprisonment or death – But they were leaders, people who led from the front. They chose to stand up against the oppression in our country, the intimidation of their people: Because of their profound love of Ireland and of their community.”
Given that MLAs have a duty under the Code to uphold the law, promote good relations and act in the interests of the community as a whole I would contend that here again Kelly broke the Code.
I look forward to you investigating these matters and returning to me.
Jim Allister MLA