The DUP’s Gregory Campbell and Sinn Fein minister John O’Dowd have clashed in the Assembly in the latest fallout from the appointments controversy over a Protestant rejected for the post of NI Water chairman.
East Londonderry MP Mr Campbell told Education Minister Mr O’Dowd it would now take a lot before unionists would believe they are going to see “fair play” from Sinn Fein ministers.
The comment came after former Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy was found guilty by an employment tribunal of discriminating against Protestant Alan Lennon, who was overlooked for the post of chairman of NI Water.
But Mr O’Dowd said if it had been left to Mr Campbell there would not even be a fair employment tribunal system or equality legislation which resulted in last week’s case and verdict.
And he added it was “quite clear” that Mr Campbell and Traditional Unionist Voice leader Jim Allister wanted a return to a “one party state” in Northern Ireland which had failed not just Catholics, but Protestants too.
Mr Campbell has asked Speaker William Hay for his advice on the “scurrilous and totally inaccurate” remarks from Mr O’Dowd.
Mr Hay said he would examine the Hansard account of the exchange and come back directly to Mr Campbell or the House.