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Council passes motion of no confidence in UUP deputy mayor of Derry

Elizabeth and Martin Gallagher who lost their son Martin and Bobby Bradley and his daughter Aileen Tester, father and sister of Robert Bradley, were present for yesterday's vote of no confidence in deputy mayor of Derry, Derek Hussey. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
Elizabeth and Martin Gallagher who lost their son Martin and Bobby Bradley and his daughter Aileen Tester, father and sister of Robert Bradley, were present for yesterday's vote of no confidence in deputy mayor of Derry, Derek Hussey. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

RELATIVES of two men killed by drink-drivers have vowed to continue their campaign to force Derry's Ulster Unionist deputy mayor Derek Hussey to step down over three separate drink-driving convictions.

A vote of no-confidence in Mr Hussey was passed by Derry City and Strabane District Council yesterday despite a last-minute interjection by Ulster Unionist leader Robin Swann.

Mr Hussey’s recent election as deputy mayor and chairman of the Derry and Strabane Policing Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) was criticised by the families of the two victims.

Relatives of Martin Gallagher and Robert Bradley were in the public gallery of the council offices for yesterday’s vote.

In a letter to the council before the vote, UUP leader Mr Swann said Mr Hussey had resigned his position on the policing partnership - but said it was because of an “increased workload.”

Mr Swann was criticised for failing to refer to Mr Hussey’s drink driving convictions.

Proposing the vote of no confidence, Ms Duffy, who described the letter as "an act of arrogance" said everyone was entitled to a second chance - but Mr Hussey had had several chances.

She said: “This has compounded the trauma of local families bereaved by drink drivers who have long campaigned for a zero-tolerance approach to drink driving.”

Mr Hussey - the only councillor to vote against the motion (although eight abstained) - said his actions had been wrong.

He said it was known for the past three years that he would become deputy mayor under the D’Hondt power-sharing system.

He said the confidence motion was an act of “shameful political opportunism” by Sinn Féin who he accused of “hypocrisy,” saying some of its members with past convictions had been elected to a range of positions in the past.

Following the vote, Aileen Tester, whose brother Robert Bradley was killed by a drink driver, said she was glad the motion was passed and that Mr Hussey had stepped down as policing partnership chairman.

“They (UUP) still do not acknowledge or recognise the fundamental principles of road safety have been undermined by his appointment,” she said.

However, Mrs Tester said it was upsetting that Mr Hussey did not resign as deputy mayor.

Martin Gallagher, whose son, also Martin, was killed in 2009, said the families would now consider legal action to remove Mr Hussey as deputy mayor.