29/09/2010

DUP Continues McGimpsey Attack

There has been continuing acrimony in the Stormont Assembly after a DUP Minister this week accused an Ulster Unionist fellow Minister of setting an "extremely dangerous precedent" suggesting that he was breaching protocol in "picking and choosing when (he) came to this House".

On Tuesday, Michael McGimpsey, the Health Minister (pictured), formally apologised to the Assembly for an error he made while answering questions about the Donagh child sex abuse case. He wrongly told MLAs that a doctor who gave evidence in the court case was not a health service employee.

Mr McGimpsey said it had been a genuine mistake for which he took full responsibility.

But, he also said he had wanted to make the statement on Monday but had to delay it because he was waiting on legal advice.
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That didn't stop criticism of Mr McGimpsey's 'failure' to show up on Monday to apologise for misleading the Assembly a day earlier and this was met with an angry response from the DUP Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, Arlene Foster.

Mrs Foster said it had set "an extremely dangerous precedent so that ministers can pick and choose when they come to this House".

The DUP has already called for Mr McGimpsey to resign over the incorrect information he had given to the Assembly.

Controversy has surrounded how the authorities dealt with two brothers who were deemed mentally unfit to stand trial for sexually abusing children.

James and Owen Roe McDermott were allowed to return to live in the Co Fermanagh village where the abuse had been carried out between 1969 and 2002.

See: Calls For Combined Justice And Health Summit Over Donagh Brothers Abuse Case

(BMcC/KMcA)

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