Wednesday, 21 February, 2018

Gerry Kelly releases statement after clamping of car

Gerry Kelly: Sinn Féin MLA removes car wheel clamp Don't you know who I am?
Nellie Chapman | 07 February, 2018, 02:23

The North Belfast MLA and Sinn Féin's policing spokesman told the BBC that he had paid the fine and paid for the damage he caused when remvoing the parking company's clamp with bolt cutters from his vehicle.

Gerry Kelly, 64, allegedly used bolt cutters to remove the clamp from the wheel of his vehicle outside a gym in Belfast on Friday. "It is believed that damage was caused to the wheel-clamp of a auto", a PSNI spokeswoman said. I near dropped the phone trying to get it on camera.

After going back into the Metropolitan Arts Centre, he asked if they had another number for the company. I immediately rang that number and this number was out of use.

Mr Kelly is a former member of the Northern Ireland Policing Board, which holds the PSNI to account. Let me add that staff at the gym were not aware what I was using the bolt cutters for.

The parking enforcement company PEA said in incidents such as someone removing a clamp without authorisation a report would normally be made to police.

Kelly said he was "under pressure" to get to the Northern Ireland talks meetings, which is why he made an "on-the-spot decision" which he said he now regrets.

"I have contacted the company and paid the fine".

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A pair of bolt cutters appear to be lying beside the wheel. "The issue has now been resolved".

PEA, the private parking firm that controls the area, has reported the matter to the police and Sinn Fein confirmed Mr Kelly had sought legal advice over the incident.

Ulster Unionist MLA Roy Beggs said Mr Kelly should "do the decent thing and resign".

But he said "nobody's holding their breath" for Gerry Adams, Mary Lou McDonald or Michelle O'Neill to take action.

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds criticised Sinn Fein's leadership, saying: "They preach respect but show little or no respect for people, rules or laws which they disagree with".

That issue had been raised in Stormont, where Mr Kelly has been a legislator for more than a decade and which often struggled to fill its order paper with meaningful business, but nothing was done to amend the law.