Daithi McKay has quit Sinn Fein

Daith� McKay has quit Sinn F�in
Daith� McKay has quit Sinn F�in

Former North Antrim MLA Daithí McKay has said he has quit Sinn Fein, months after standing down from the Assembly over allegations that he coached a loyalist who was due to give evidence to an inquiry he was leading.

Mr McKay had resigned as an MLA in August after it emerged that, whilst chairman of Stormont’s finance committee, he had been in contact with loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson before Mr Bryson gave evidence to the committee concerning the sale of NAMA’s Northern Ireland portfolio.

At the time, Mr McKay apologised for making “contact with a witness”, calling his actions “ill-advised and wrong”.

However, he said his intention “was not, as alleged, to coach the witness in question with regard to the substance of his testimony”.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness also described the allegations made against Mr McKay as “profoundly disturbing” and urged him to “consider his position”.

A Sinn Fein councillor and 17 party activists then quit in protest at how Mr McKay had been treated in the wake of the controversy.

In an interview with BBC Radio Foyle on Friday, Mr McKay revealed he has now quit Sinn Fein, saying he “regrets nothing”.

“People always make mistakes,” he said.

“I think that’s important to realise but there’s nobody out there who hasn’t made a mistake in their work or life.

“I moved on from all this the day after I resigned and I think most of the public have moved on from this as well, so I don’t dwell on it and I don’t think there’s any need to dwell on it.”