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Ulster Unionist deputy mayor refuses to step down over drink driving

Ulster Unionist deputy mayor of Derry, Derek Hussey has offered to meet the family of drink driving victim, Martin Gallagher. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

THE deputy mayor of Derry Derek Hussey has rejected calls for him to step down over three separate drink driving convictions.

The Ulster Unionist councillor said he would not quit but was prepared to meet with the father of a Derry man whose son was killed by a drink driver and who had called for him to resign.

Martin Gallagher, whose son, also Martin (25) was knocked down and killed as he walked home from Halloween celebrations in Derry on November 2 2009, said every time they saw Mr Hussey it reminded his family of their own tragedy.

He urged Mr Hussey to step down as both deputy mayor and as chairman of the Derry and Strabane Policing Community Safety Partnership (PCSP).

The Castlederg councillor received a five-year driving ban and was fined £800 in 2016 after he pleaded guilty to drink driving. He also has drink driving convictions from 2004 and 2011.

Mr Hussey was nominated as chairman of the Derry and Strabane PCSP despite opposition from Sinn Féin at this month’s annual general meeting of Derry City and Strabane District Council.

Mr Gallagher said his family felt "let down” by the council over the issue.

“Every time we see this man or hear about this man it brings it back to our own tragedy," he said.

Saying he had nothing against Mr Hussey personally he added: "It is about him being chosen as a public representative for the council."

He said his first thoughts on hearing that Mr Hussey was elected deputy mayor were of his son.

Martin Gallagher (25) was killed by a drink driver in November 2009.

However, Mr Hussey said he would not be stepping down.

He said he had every sympathy with the Gallagher family and others who suffered loss through drunk driving and would be happy to meet the family.

But he said his case had been dealt with by the courts and his own party and he was content with the position he had taken.

“I would very much welcome a face to face meeting with the family as I need to listen to them,” he said.

An Ulster Unionist Party spokesman said: “(Mr Hussey) was convicted through the courts in relation to his charges, paid his fine, completed his community service and acknowledged what he did was wrong."

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