SDLP fails so far to censure Nelson McCausland
Published 13/09/2012 | 00:58
An SDLP move to censure DUP minister Nelson McCausland over his justification of “civil disobedience” following violence surrounding parades appears to have fallen at the first hurdle.
No other parties came forward yesterday to support the SDLP move, leaving the party short of the necessary signatures to lodge a censure motion in the Assembly.
Sinn Fein, which has also been critical of Mr McCausland’s justification of non-violent protest against Parades Commission decisions, remained silent over the move.
Yesterday SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell (right) — who has argued that Mr McCausland breached the Ministerial Code of Office and brought the Assembly into disrepute — gave Sinn Fein and other parties another 24 hours to respond. “To table this motion, we required 30 signatures to be submitted to the business office by 12 noon today. At 12 noon, we had the 14 SDLP signatures,” the South Belfast MP said.
“We have approached other parties on this issue. We have requested all parties to come back to us in the next 24 hours.
“Minister Nelson McCausland should be brought to account, both for his statements and his omissions in not condemning the incendiary and illegal actions in north Belfast over the summer,” he added.
Assembly Speaker William Hay told Mr McDonnell on Monday that the issue was outside his authority. There were clashes when bandsmen defied a Parades Commission ruling against playing music while passing St Patrick’s Church in Belfast city centre.
For days afterwards, the DUP Social Development Minister argued the Parades Commission determinations were making breaches of its rulings inevitable, and he could not condemn “civil disobedience”.