Social development minister 'will not stand aside'


Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland would not "stand aside from his ministerial position", MLAs were told on 27 May 2014.

Sinn Fein's Alex Maskey called for the minister to stand aside in the light of questions raised by the media "regarding the alleged gerrymandering of housing allocations and resources in North Belfast".

Finance Minister Simon Hamilton, who was standing in for his DUP colleague, Mr McCausland, at Question Time, replied with a monosyllabic, "No".

Mr Maskey said it was "unfortunate" that the matter of social housing "has been politicised and sectarianised", particularly in north Belfast.

Alban Maginness of the SDLP referred to an article in the online newspaper, The Detail.

He asked if the minister agreed that it was clear from the article that the minister was intent on meeting local Housing Executive officials "in order to browbeat then and bully them into a political stance which suited his political agenda".

Mr Hamilton said that "to accuse the minister of browbeating officials from the Housing Executive is a very, very serious accusation. But I would expect nothing less particularly from the member for North Belfast from the SDLP".

He said Mr Maginness's reading of the article in The Detail was very different from what it said "and there is no accusation of gerrymandering, or browbeating made by that newspaper".

Culture Minister Caral Ni Chuilin replied to questions about the Giro d'Italia cycle race, the Milk Cup soccer tournament and the proposed Seamus Heaney Interpretative Centre.

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