Northern Ireland

Francie Molloy criticised over David Jeffrey remarks

UUP leader Tom Elliott has questioned the fitness for office of Sinn Fein deputy speaker Francie Molloy.

Mr Molloy told a Stormont committee on Wednesday that when Linfield manager David Jeffrey saw him and party colleague Barry McElduff in a restaurant last year, he walked out.

Mr Molloy made his remarks during a Community Relations Council presentation.

Mr Elliott asked him to stop and when he continued, suspended the meeting.

"I think it's Bill Jeffries (sic) you call the man that runs Linfield," Mr Molloy said.

"I was sitting in a restaurant last year along with Barry McElduff and that particular gentleman came into it and had ordered his food and ordered his drink and walked out of it because of the two Sinn Fein members sitting in the restaurant."

The UUP leader has written a letter of complaint to the speaker, William Hay.

He said the incident raised "serious questions" about Mr Molloy's fitness for the office of deputy speaker.

He added that he would be "a most unsuitable choice" for the post of Principal Deputy Speaker which is due to be created following an agreement between Sinn Fein and the DUP.

The new role has been opposed by the Ulster Unionists and SDLP who say it will unfairly elevate one deputy speaker above the other two.

A Sinn Fein spokesman said the role of the chair was to facilitate the meeting.

He added: "You can rest assured if Francie Molloy had been in the chair, the meeting would not have been adjourned because someone made a comment that he did not agree with."

More on this story