A former deputy Mayor who has been disqualified from his role as a councillor for 15 months is to appeal the decision.
Ulster Unionist Alderman Derek Hussey was disqualified by the Local Government Commissioner for Standards for breaching the Local Government Code of Conduct for Councillors following a drink driving conviction in March 2016. This was Alderman Hussey’s third drink driving conviction.
Mr Hussey’s solicitor, Alexander Redpath, of Peter Bowles and Company, said: “My client has never sought to justify or defend his actions. Sanction in this case was inevitable but we are disappointed that the Commissioner has handed down a disqualification in this case. We believe this is an unprecedented sanction for a case of this type and out of line with other recent similar cases.”
He said his client has served the people of Derg for 30 years, has co-operated fully with the Commissioner’s investigation and shown genuine remorse.
Mr Redpath added: “Our client has instructed us to prepare an appeal. We are in the process of drafting the necessary papers and hope to lodge these with the High Court shortly. Our client will remain in office until July 15, 2019.”
Local Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy said: “The decision to disqualify Derek Hussey from his role as Councillor for 15 months is the right one.
“Last year Sinn Féin tabled a motion of no-confidence in Mr Hussey when he was Deputy Mayor and objected to Derek Hussey’s appointment as Chair of the Policing Community Safety Partnership.”
She added that this was a “victory for bereaved families.”
A UUP spokesperson said: “We have always been of the view that drink driving is unacceptable and the decision reflects that view. We will be taking steps to ensure that the people of Derg are well represented in Alderman Hussey’s absence and will make no further comment at this time.”