Derry deputy mayor Derek Hussey could face confidence motion

UUP councillor Derek Hussey Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption Derek Hussey became deputy mayor in June

Sinn Féin will propose a motion of no confidence in Londonderry Deputy Mayor Derek Hussey if he does not stand down following recent pressure over his drink-driving convictions.

The Ulster Unionist Party councillor has three convictions for drink-driving.

Council leader Sandra Duffy is the latest to condemn his decision not to resign.

MP for Foyle, Elisha McCallion asked him to reflect on his position.

Two families whose loved ones were killed by drunk drivers have called for his resignation.

'Disregard for safety'

Ms Duffy said: "Sinn Féin has already objected to Derek Hussey's appointment as chairman of the Policing Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) on the grounds that someone with repeated drink-driving convictions should not be leading a body tasked with public safety matters.

"While we accept that everyone is entitled to a second chance, it is clear that Derek Hussey has had several but continued to display the most atrocious disregard for public safety.

"This has compounded the trauma of local families bereaved by drink drivers, who have long campaigned for a zero tolerance approach to drink driving.

"They feel this valuable work is undermined by Derek Hussey remaining in such a senior civic position.

"In light of this, we feel it is inappropriate for Mr Hussey to continue in his current position. He does not enjoy the confidence of the wider public and is undermining the approach which all public bodies must take to issues such as drink driving which are an ongoing and extremely serious issue in this society.

"Therefore, Sinn Féin will table a motion of no confidence in him at Thursday's full council meeting, if he continues to refuse to listen to the concerns that have been raised.

"We are conscious that, even if passed, such a motion does not compel him to resign - however, it would demonstrate the strength of feeling on this issue and certainly add to the moral pressure on Mr Hussey and his party.

Mr Hussey declined a BBC interview request but did say he would meet with the families to talk about the issues.

Mr Hussey also said he has spoken to the UUP party leader on the subject and will not be standing down as deputy mayor or as chairman of Derry City and Strabane District's Policing and Community Safety Partnership.

He was given a five-year driving ban and fined £800 in 2016 after pleading guilty. The previous offences date back to 2004 and 2011.

Families' anguish

Image copyright Gallagher family
Image caption Martin Gallagher was 25 when he was killed

Martin Gallagher, whose 25-year-old son was killed by a drunk driver in 2009, said he had "nothing against Mr Hussey personally".

"But it is about him being chosen as a public representative for the council," he said.

Mr Gallagher's son, Martin junior, had been returning from Halloween celebrations when he was killed on 1 November 2009.

He said should Mr Hussey not resign "then the council must ask him to step down".

The family of Derry student Robert Bradley, who was killed along with a friend in Nottingham by a drunk driver 18 years ago, have also called for Mr Hussey to step down.

Robert's sister Aileen Tester told BBC Radio Foyle the family will refer Mr Hussey to the local government watchdog.

"To be mayor or deputy mayor of this city should be a privilege," she said.

"That privilege should be bestowed on somebody who is willing to uphold the office with the highest integrity. We do not feel he can do that in his current position."

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