Derry gunmen waiting to fill the vacuum if Stormont remains dormant: Willie Hay

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DUP veteran Willie Hay has warned that those responsible for a recent spate of paramilitary-style shootings in Derry are eager to fill any vacuum created by the permanent collapse of the institutions at Stormont.

The city’s longest standing DUP representative issued the call during a debate on the Northern Ireland Budget Bill this week.

“In my own city of Londonderry there have been a number of shootings in the past few weeks,” he said.

“These incidents show that without political agreement in Northern Ireland, other people in Northern Ireland will fill the vacuum.

“That is the worrying trend in not getting political agreement in Northern Ireland.

“The history of Northern Ireland has been that if there is no political will to resolve the issues, other people feel they can resolve them through violence.”

The former Mayor of Derry issued the warning in his capacity as a cross bench peer in the British House of Lords, where he takes the title Lord Hay of Ballyore.

Whilst declaring himself a committed devolutionist he predicted greater involvement by London in Irish affairs if the current impasse isn’t successfully negotiated.

“I believe there will be a greater initiative from London to get involved in the politics of Northern Ireland.

“It should be a warning to all our political parties in Northern Ireland - I have to say, especially to Sinn Fein. I know that to some people some of these issues seem simple. They are not.”