Belfast Telegraph

DUP: Gerry Kelly's car clamp removal 'another significant test for the Sinn Fein leadership'

The DUP slammed the actions of a Sinn Fein MLA who removed a wheel clamp on his car with bolt cutters as "symptomatic of a wider pattern of behaviour."

Gerry Kelly, the party's policing spokesman, was caught on camera as he bent down to lift a set of bolt cutters before removing the clamp after an early morning gym session.

On the driver's window of the car is a large sign which says "Stop" warning of the clamp.

The footage obtained by the Belfast Telegraph was captured on Friday by workmen as they passed through the narrow street just behind the art gallery.

The incident has been reported to the PSNI.

DUP's Deputy leader Nigel Dodds has asked what action Sinn Fein will take against Mr Kelly.

The North Belfast MP said: "The Gerry Kelly incident is symptomatic of a wider pattern of behaviour by leading Sinn Fein figures.

"They regard themselves as not being bound by the same rules as the rest of the society.

"They preach respect but show little or no respect for people, rules or laws which they disagree with."

Stating that Sinn Fein had failed miserably over the Barry McElduff scandal, Mr Dodds asked: "Will Gerry Adams, Mary Lou McDonald or Michelle O'Neill finally take action when we have their policing spokesperson act like this?

"This is another significant test for the Sinn Fein leadership. Nobody's holding their breath."

Earlier TUV leader Jim Allister called for the north Belfast MLA's resignation.

"He had no right to remove the clamp and must not get away with it," he said.

Ulster Unionist MLA Roy Beggs said Mr Kelly has set an appalling example and should be gone.

Mr Beggs said: "Gerry Kelly's actions demonstrate contempt for private property and a contempt lack of respect for rules that apply to the rest of Northern Ireland.

"What if everyone ignored yellow lines? Does Gerry think that he is special and above the rules that apply to you and me?

"This is a public representative who sits on the Policing Board but seemingly drives around with a set of bolt cutters available to remove unwanted clamps."

The east Antrim MLA added: "It seems that being in possession of a Royal Pardon has made Gerry Kelly believe that he is truly untouchable. He should do the decent thing and resign.

"If this was to happen in any other part of the United Kingdom or indeed the Republic, the relevant politician would be gone. Instead Gerry Kelly is arrogant and shameless."

On Saturday night, a Sinn Fein spokesperson confirmed Mr Kelly removed the car clamp with bolt cutters.

"Gerry Kelly MLA returned to his car after an early morning gym session to find that his car had been made immobile by a clamp just after 7.20 am," a statement said.

"He removed the clamp from the front wheel. He left the device nearby and drove off to pre-arranged meetings.

"His solicitor is dealing with the matter and he will be making no further comment at this time."

A PSNI spokesperson has said: "Police in north Belfast received a report of criminal damage in the Exchange Street area of Belfast at around 2.20pm on Friday February 2.

"It is believed that damage was caused to the wheel-clamp of a car."

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