Belfast Telegraph

Assembly speaker rebukes trio after Troubles legacy debate

BY NOEL MCADAM

Three senior Assembly Members have been "named and shamed" by Speaker William Hay after bitter clashes over the legacy of the Troubles.

Former Ulster Unionist leader Tom Elliott, Traditional Unionist Voice leader Jim Allister and Pat Sheehan of Sinn Fein were all found guilty of using "offensive" language – and warned they may lose speaking rights in future.

Mr Hay's rebuke came as he told MLAs the standard of debate in the Stormont chamber had fallen in recent times – and said he had been "amazed" at some of the remarks in a debate on the Police Ombudsman's Office.

Mr Sheehan referred to Mr Elliott's service with the UDR and said: "I would just like to ask him about the organisation to which he belonged and many of his colleagues who had dual membership. Was he some sort of Colonel Blimp who did not realise that they were out killing Catholics while he was doing his duty?"

Mr Allister interjected: "That is absolutely shameful, shameful, from a killer."

Then, a short time later, Mr Elliott refused to allow Sinn Fein's Raymond McCartney to intervene, and said: "I have heard enough from your benches in your Provisional IRA places."

Mr Allister said: "Those in this debate with the most to hide are not brave police officers who served this country well. They are the low lifes who were terrorists in this community."

Mr Hay was asked to investigate the remarks.

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