Belfast Telegraph

DUP appoints Maurice Devenney as MLA for Foyle: Replacement for ex-Assembly Speaker Willie Hay

By John Mulgrew

The DUP has appointed a replacement for Willie Hay who stepped down last week.

Maurice Devenney will now serve as an MLA for Foyle - taking his seat at Stormont on Monday.

A councillor in Londonderry since 2005, Mr Devenney was mayor of the city between 2008 and 2009.

Speaking today, DUP leader Peter Robinson said the new addition would "strengthen" the party's Assembly team.

"When William Hay decided to step down from the Assembly, the Democratic Unionist Party lost a dedicated and hard-working constituency representative," he said.

"I am delighted however that the DUP will continue to be represented by someone well known to the people of Londonderry and with a track record of delivering for the community."

The departure of Willie Hay - who stood down from his post as Speaker and MLA last week - threw a spanner in the works for Northern Ireland's ever-bickering political system.

Sinn Fein and the DUP remain at loggerheads over a replacement for the 64-year-old.

Relations between the two main parties plunged to new depths as the DUP reneged on a deal to appoint the first republican Speaker.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said the “eyes of the world” were looking on to see whether the parties would be able to agree on what the SDLP called a “watershed moment”.

First Minister Peter Robinson said his party will still honour the deal — which will see Sinn Fein’s Mitchel McLaughlin take up the office — but the matter should be dealt with as part of the multi-party talks being organised by Secretary of State Theresa Villiers.

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