Northern Ireland news

Drink-driving conviction sees former DUP mayor suspended from council

Former DUP mayor Thomas Hogg has been handed a five-month suspension by the Local Government Commissioner for Standards. Picture by Alan Lewis

A former DUP mayor who was convicted of drink driving has been suspended from his role as a councillor for five months.

Thomas Hogg, a member of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, was handed a 12-month driving ban and £250 fine last May after pleading guilty to driving with excess alcohol.

The 30-year-old, a native of Maguiresbridge, Co Fermanagh, was stopped by police on Belfast's Crumlin Road in April after officers saw his car weaving over the road.

A breath sample showed he was more than two times over the legal limit.

His lawyer claimed Mr Hogg had got behind the wheel in an "act of kindness" to help a stranded friend.

Following an investigation, the Local Government Commissioner for Standards yesterday imposed a five-month suspension on the councillor.

The commissioner found he had brought Antrim and Newtownabbey council into disrepute.

The suspension, which begins on Monday February 4, expires ahead of May's council elections, leaving him free to contest the poll.

Elected a DUP councillor in 2011, Mr Hogg served as mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey for two consecutive years from 2014.

In 2016 he was awarded an MBE for services to local government.

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