So Jim Wells MLA is a bit unpleasant (per Sinn Féin, SDLP, Green & Alliance)
On the other hand Jim Wells MLA is not at all unpleasant. (per DUP & UUP). At worst he is a bit “in your face”.
But by 51 votes to 49……along Party lines. …Jim has escaped censure for being a bit forthright with Sinn Féin Minister for Culture Arts & Leisure, Caral Ní Chuilín MLA and her Political Advisor, Mary McArdle.
Jim is a rather large man. Caral is a rather petite grandmother and I have no idea what Mary McArdle looks like.
Jim is a Godly man, befitting his DUP membership. He has no criminal convictions. On the other hand Caral has served four years in prison for trying to blow up a police station in North Belfast. She got a university degree in prison. Mary served fourteen years in prison for murder. Two men killed a young Catholic woman, Mary Travers, as she left Sunday mass with her father……a judge. Mary (McArdle) was involved.
That of course is all in the Past. Except of course for the family of Mary Travers……including her sister, Anne who is vocal and critical……and indeed outraged that Caral should appoint Mary as a Special Advisor.
Now of course, a number of Sinn Féin MLAs are convicted terrorists but…..it can be argued….they have bee elected by the voters.
Did Caral have a right to appoint Mary to be her Special advisor? Yes I think she did. Was Caral wise to appoint Mary? No..obviously not. Because the “story” BECAME Mary McArdle (incidently she has been moved sideways to another SF administrative post).
So it fed Sinn Feins critics. And Anne Travers (sister of the murder victim) was too articulate and too tenacious to let it go. Indeed as recently as yesterday she made a very effective witness at the Assembly’s Justice Committee….bringing up this very case.
So Caral (four years in jail) and Mary (fourteen years) are no shrinking violets. Both youthful members of the Irish Republican Army. But Jim is Godly and they ran from his wrath along the Stormont corridors. Some time ago….it must be said.
Sinn Féin called it bullying. And put down a motion to censure him (earlier this week). SDLP, Alliance, Green supported the motion. It seems reasonable that Assembly business…..including the atmosphere in and around its precincts should be respectful.
DUP predictably and UUP (predictably…….dont talk to me about “liberal unionists”) supported Godly Jim. Cos they are Godly also.
Yet ………..over two years ago, I attended an event at Stormont in support of International Workers Day. …….honouring workers killed or injured at work.
The event was presented by DUP Minister, Arlene Foster MLA. She is Godly of course. But there was a speech from Jennifer McCann MLA (Sinn Féin, West Belfast). Fairly benign speech….people, especially vulnerable workers get hurt and killed at work.
I was maybe 58 years old then. An old man. I remember more than most people. Jennifer McCann served ten years of a twenty year sentence for shooting a member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary. ……er at work.
Now I do not say this to be antagonistic towards Sinn Féin. Had I lived in West Belfast in 2007 when Jennifer was first elected…I would have voted for her. Let’s get that one out of the way.
I merely point out that Arlene and Jennifer were making speeches on Workers Safety……..and it did not seemingly cross Arlene’s mind that Jennifer had shot a police officer. If it did cross Arlene’s mind ..she didnt mention it to the audience.
So……….at times……..it suits the purposes of DUP to overlook Sinn Féins past. At other times such as 51 unionists supporting Jim Wells, it suits DUP not to overlook Sinn Féins past.