independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Maskey reported over stones comment

Alex Maskey suggested that nationalists living in the Short Strand area of east Belfast should be entitled to defend their homes

An MLA who made controversial comments about throwing stones has been reported to the Assembly's standards committee, it has emerged.

Sinn Fein's Alex Maskey, a former Northern Ireland Policing Board member, suggested that nationalists living in the Short Strand area of east Belfast should be entitled to defend their homes if they come under attack.

The DUP said it reported the remarks to the Stormont standards and privileges commissioner in a formal complaint.

North Down MLA Peter Weir said he wanted a full investigation into whether Mr Maskey breached the Assembly code of conduct.

"Elected representatives have a duty to give leadership and promote good relations by upholding the rule of law," Mr Weir said.

"All violence is wrong and police officers in particular have borne the brunt of this with many officers injured by the very stones Mr Maskey talked of. He must now immediately withdraw the comments and apologise for his outburst."

On Monday night homes and a Catholic church in the Short Strand were attacked with petrol bombs, bricks and bottles.

There were also clashes with loyalists at the weekend after a Union flag protest.

PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott apologised to Short Strand residents whose homes were attacked on Saturday.

Unionists living in the lower Newtownards Road area of east Belfast claim their homes have been frequently attacked with golf balls, bricks and fireworks thrown from the Short Strand.

Press Association

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