DUP’s ‘human shield’ strategy seeks to thwart DSD Committee Inquiry

Statement by TUV Leader and member of DSD Committee, Jim Allister:-

“This morning the DSD Minister and his Special Adviser were due to give sworn testimony to the DSD Committee in the Inquiry sparked by the BBC Spotlight programme arising from the Redsky controversy.

“The Minister and his SPAD had been called back to address contradictions which had  arisen with their previous unsworn evidence.

“It was clear from the outset that the DUP had decided on a strategy of obstruction and straight away tried to act as a ‘human shield’ to protect the Minister from any probing questions. It was also clear that the Minister was anxious to answer anything but some of the questions he was asked. As DUP disruption intensified the Chairman had little option, his authority having been usurped by the constant barracking of the DUP members, but to adjourn the Inquiry for today.

“The DUP may have succeeded in the short term from having their minister probed on these issues and whereas they can for today run, they and he will not be able to hide. There are key questions which will have to be answered.

“At the point of the adjournment I was pressing the minister on whether he wanted to help the committee in unravelling the mystery as to who directed his Private Secretary to alter minutes – to write Turkington Holdings out of the script and pretend a particular meeting was instead with the Glass & Glazing Federation – in circumstances where the Private Secretary had suggested it was most likely either the minister or the SPAD who had given the direction. DUP barracking and interruption led to the abandonment of the meeting.

“There are key questions here which will not go away and sooner or later will have to be answered. The searchlight of truth may be uncomfortable for some, but it will be shone into these dark corners.”

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