Leading article

Gerry Kelly moves quickly to resolve clamp issue

With one bound Gerry was free! Social media seethes, torn between straight laced disapproval and admiration for Braveheart with bolt cutters. Ian Knox

Sinn Féin has plainly learned from its handling of the Barry McElduff blunder and acted quickly to draw a line under Gerry Kelly's unwise decision to cut a parking clamp off the wheel of his car.

Once again people in the public eye have learned the hard way that social media is an absolute minefield.

Barry McElduff was the author of his own misfortune, having tweeted the video of himself with a loaf of Kingsmill bread on his head, a crass and ill-judged action that caused grave offence and led to the MP's resignation.

In the case of Mr Kelly, he was filmed - presumably without his knowledge - taking a set of bolt cutters to a wheel clamp in Belfast city centre and the footage subsequently went viral and created a political stir.

On Sunday the North Belfast MLA tweeted a statement saying: ''No one can be above the law.''

He also confirmed he had voluntarily gone to the police for interview.

On Monday he provided more detail about the incident and dispelled the suggestion that he was in the habit of carrying bolt cutters in his boot, something which had it been the case would have raised more questions.

The implement had been borrowed from the gym he attends while he confirmed he had made attempts to contact the parking enforcement company before removing the clamp.

Speaking on BBC Talkback, Mr Kelly said he had now paid both the fine and the cost of the damage caused, saying 'the issue has now been resolved'.

The veteran politician has had time to reflect on his actions which he says he now regrets.

Certainly, neither Sinn Féin nor the MLA would want this to become a protracted legal matter.

They will also realise that this type of behaviour by a public representative, who is also a party spokesman on policing, sends out entirely the wrong message.

It is now for Sinn Féin to consider what action to take on this error of judgment.

With one bound Gerry was free! Social media seethes, torn between straight laced disapproval and admiration for Braveheart with bolt cutters. Ian Knox

 

 

 

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