Belfast Telegraph

DUP blasted as 'human shield' during adjourned Housing Executive inquiry with Nelson McCausland

Committee was adjourned after less than an hour

By John Mulgrew

The DUP have been blasted for acting as a "human shield" during an inquiry into alleged interference in the running of the Housing Executive was adjourned following heated exchanges.

Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland was among those giving evidence to the committee over allegations raised in a BBC Spotlight documentary over interference of the Housing Executive.

But after less than an hour, Sinn Fein chair Alex Maskey called an end to proceedings following several exchanges with DUP MLAs.

TUV leader Jim Allister said the DUP had acted as a "human shield' to protect Minister McCausland from questioning.

"As DUP disruption intensified the chairman had little option, his authority having been usurped by the constant barracking of the DUP members, but to adjourn the inquiry for today."

On several occasions Mr Maskey said further interruptions would result in the inquiry being suspended.

It was cut short following comments from DUP MLA Trevor Clarke.

Fellow party member Sammy Wilson claimed Mr Maskey was not chairing the committee "very well".

He later described the inquiry as a "political with-hunt".

"It is appalling that a Minister and his advisor present themselves to the committee, members set aside time to attend and on the whim of the chairman, when the inquiry is not going as anticipated, the meeting is adjourned," he said.

Following the short-run inquiry, Jim Allister said:

"There are key questions here which will not go away and sooner or later will have to be answered."

Further reading

LIVE: DUP's Nelson McCausland evidence to Stormont committee over allegations raised in documentary adjourned 

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