Jim Allisters Special Advisors Bill Motion

Just a short personal opinion on the Bill designed to block former prisoners–“with serious offences”-from taking up positions as special advisors at Stormont.  TUV MLA Jim Allister brought the Bill basically after the appointment of high profile ex Republican prisoner Mary McArdle as an advisor to the Culture Minister Caral Ni Chuilin. McArdle had been convicted for her part in the 1984 murder of judge’s daughter Mary Travers.  The Bill seeks to ban anyone who has been sentenced to more than 5 years in prison, from taking up similar posts in the future.
The only opposition to the Bill predictably came in the shape of Sinn Fein.  To think that there would be any Unionist opposition to such a proposal is delusional.  At present we, as a Loyalist community do not have anyone in Stormont who we could label as representative of our community.  We had in the past and certainly aspire to have representation there again.  If we are fortunate enough to once again have people of the calibre of David Ervine or Billy Hutchinson once again established in Stormont the chances are that they will be restricted in who they choose as special advisors.  There are a multitude of Loyalist politically motivated ex prisoners who would be qualified to take up such positions but would be prevented from doing so when this Bill is eventually ratified.
Where is the logic behind such thinking from Allister and those who back him?  He is prepared and content to sit in government with individuals like Gerry Kelly–Raymond McCartney–Conor Murphy–the aforementioned Caral–Martina Anderson–all, who, if memory served me right served sentences in excess of 5 years.  Why such a selective response?  The reality from Allisters point of view is that it is quite okay for ex prisoners–Republicans to boot–to help run the country in tandem with himself–but unacceptable for them to have an advisor who may have in theory served less time than them in Long Kesh…or in McArdle’s case Armagh.  It is a  ludicrous situation–but one that is highly unlikely to be challenged–apart fron Sinn Fein.  Allister is a weasel of a politician who will jump on any badwagon when he sees an opportunity.  Or jump off one when he cannot get his own way either!!  In this particular case he has manipulated a situation where he has championed himself as representative of victims in order to highlight his own dubious profile. Nothing more.


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