Culture Minister staged ‘petulant’ walk out of Committee meeting

Stormont
Stormont

DUP MLA William Humphrey has accused the Culture Minister of displaying contempt for the democratic process after she walked out of a Committee meeting after reading a prepared statement.

Mr Humphrey, a member of the Assembly’s Culture Arts & Leisure Committee, spoke after Caral Ni Chuilin had been called to give evidence to the CAL Committee today under oath but walked out after reading a prepared statement and refused to answer any questions.

“It is disgraceful that a Minister would display such concept for the democratic process,” he said.

“It is entirely proper for a Committee to ask that anyone, including a Minister, be recalled to clarify inconsistencies which have arisen during evidence sessions. The Minister was one of a number of witnesses who the Committee wish to hear again from under oath.”

He said that earlier Minister Ni Chuilin read a 12,000-word statement “which took nearly 90 minutes to complete”.

“This was respectfully heard without interruption, but the Minister then petulantly chose to walk out, refusing to answer even a single question,” he added. “Such a display not only shows disrespect for the Assembly but a complete disregard for the general public who want to see a proper investigation into serious allegations that safety concerns were ignored in the Casement Park redevelopment and lives could have been put at risk.

“The Minister’s attitude may in itself be revealing. People may rightly ask what purpose has been served by stonewalling legitimate questions into an issue of the utmost seriousness. The public will make up their own mind however as to why anyone would refuse to answer questions under oath.”