30/11/2012

Tweed Expelled From Orange Order

Former Ulster and Ireland rugby player David Tweed has been expelled from the Orange Order after a court convicted him of child sex abuse.

On Wednesday Mr Tweed was found guilty of 13 charges of sexually abusing two girls over an eight-year period.

Mr Tweed is also a Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) party member, an elected Ballymena councillor and a member of the Christian group the Royal Black Institution (RBI).

The RBI says it has begun the process for expelling him from the organisation.

Mr Tweed has also been suspended from the TUV. He joined in November 2010 but his membership was suspended when the sex abuse charges came to light.

In a statement, the party said: "TUV notes the conviction of Cllr David Tweed of offences relating to a period long before he was a member of this party.

"Cllr Tweed's party membership, in accordance with party rules, has been suspended since he was charged. We respect the jury's verdict and Mr Tweed's rights of appeal."

53-year-old Tweed's membership of the Orange Order was suspended earlier this month, but now the Order has said: "Mr Tweed's conviction automatically terminates his membership of the Institution".

It is understood the RBI's internal disciplinary procedures take longer to implement than those of the Orange Order.

On Thursday a spokesman for the RBI said: "Following the conviction of David Tweed the process began yesterday to expel him from the institution."

Ballymena Borough Council said: "We will be considering this matter in conjunction with the relevant electoral legislation; however, no final decision can be made on the matter until the exact sentence is known."

(IT/GK)

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