DUP Meltdown in Foyle over Devenney Dispute

The Newsletter reported yesterday that the DUP constituency association in Foyle is in turmoil after 20 of its approximately 65 members quit the party over the treatment of now former party elected representative, Maurice Devenney.

Devenney quit the party on Thursday after he had been suspended following allegations that he’d encouraged unionists to vote for the SDLP in the 2015 Westminster election campaign, charges that the former MLA has labelled as “spurious.”

Amongst those walking away from the party are two sisters of the long time DUP representative in the city and former Stormont Speaker, William Hay (now Lord Hay). The Newsletter report includes a claim by one of Lord Hay’s sisters that the DUP “just is not democratic any more.”

From the report:

In years gone past, she said, the party needed members to fund-raise and work for it but now the level of MLA expenses are such that “they just need us at election time” to canvass.

“We do the spade work at elections but when it comes to choosing the candidate, you’ve no say in that.”

The other of Lord Hay’s sisters to leave referred to her mother’s time in the party (Anna Hay was the first DUP councillor in the city in the 1970s), saying “this would never ever have been tolerated 40 years ago”.

It is understood that last July Mr Devenney put his name forward for selection as the party’s candidate for May’s Assembly election but that over a period of six months various senior party figures brought pressure to bear on him to withdraw his name from the process.

Mr Devenney’s supporters in the association believed that in a contest between him and the current MLA, Gary Middleton, Mr Devenney would comfortably win – even though DUP headquarters could disregard the result and decide to choose Mr Middleton anyway.

In the end, they say that a meeting of the association was called to “ratify” the choice of Mr Middleton rather than to select him.

DUP chairman Lord Morrow has previously said that Mr Middleton was chosen “unanimously” by the association and he was “the only candidate seeking selection” in a process which was “entirely open, transparent and conformed to party rules”.

Yesterday a DUP spokesman would only say: “We don’t comment on membership issues.”

There are rumours that Mr Devenney could stand as an independent candidate in Foyle. Yesterday he declined to comment further.

In 2011, the DUP candidate, William Hay, topped the poll in Foyle after the Ulster Unionist Party decided against fielding a candidate, leaving Hay as the only unionist in the field. In last year’s Westminster campaign, Gary Middleton took almost four times as many votes as the UUP candidate, Julia Kee, suggesting that, in the absence of an independent candidacy from Devenney, Middleton should still be able to see off any threat from an Ulster Unionist candidate in the race for the solitary unionist seat in Foyle.

 

  • Brendan Heading

    There is obviously a lot going on internally that we can’t know about. It’s a strange thing for a DUP candidate to be telling people to vote for the SDLP. Devenney has not made a serious attempt to deny this, and hasn’t exercised the option of taking the party to court over his suspension.

    Like Sinn Féin, the DUP probably still retain undated resignation letters from MLA candidates. They certainly did not deny this when it was widely publicised some time ago. Devenney’s “resignation” after five months as an MLA may well have been instigated this way. Of course, since his signature would have been on the letter he would have had to go along with it.

    Why exactly the DUP would agree to co-opt Devenney and then push him out five short months later is what we don’t know, but the Irish News commentary highlighting relationships within the constituency association is likely to be relevant, on the back of the Spotlight investigation into the expenses claims within the Foyle constituency office.

    In fairness to the DUP I’m not sure what else they are supposed to do, and I find cries of “this wouldn’t have gone on 40 years ago” a little difficult to believe. DUP members and activists must understand that the party is, and always has been, a top-down party dominated by its leadership. Back in the day when various DUP activists contented themselves with council seats and Paisleyite rallies while the party leader presided from within the comfortable surroundings of the Manse, there were no generous assembly salaries and expenses claims regimes to squabble over.

  • Turgon

    Political party has infighting shock.

    In other news half term will be over soon so Mr. Donnelly will go back to teaching.

    Help: who will be left to bring all of unionism’s failings to our attention.

  • chrisjones2

    Every day the DUP and Sf seem more and more alike

  • Turgon

    “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

    A bit unfair maybe.

  • ranger1640

    I wonder have the DUP put the “Cork” into the resignations.

  • ranger1640

    Not a bit unfair, here is an example of how they are morphing into one and the same. http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/sinn-fein-defends-treatment-amid-claims-of-bullying-383031.html

  • Gaygael

    I sincerely hope Julia Kee can seize the opportunity.

  • Robin Keogh

    What does that article state in your view?
    For me as a Shinner Sandra’s experience is a disgrace. As Mary-Lou pointed out, they are friends. When personalities clash at local level it is incredibly difficult for the party ‘machine’ to resolve the issue. This is a fact across the board in all parties and organisations. The best that can be done is try to manage the situation and try to resolve it to the satisfaction of all concerned. It appears this was impossible in cork as the squabbling factions could not be reconciled.
    People who think that Sinn Fein have some sort of Iron control over the party organisation are a source of humour to most of us. Disagreements and cat fights are very common but are usually resolved within the local party structure and are rarely shared with the media, not because of Sinn Fein rules or HQ oversight but because there exists a general distrust of the media (with good reason) amongst Shinners including myself. In this case the people involved couldn’t resolve it and the local organisation has sadly split as a result.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Were there any threats of fire and Brimstone?

  • chrisjones2

    Not a bit of it

  • chrisjones2

    Tactical voting is commonplace to keep themuns out

  • notimetoshine

    A very good analogy I should imagine…

  • Ryan

    “just is not democratic any more.”
    When was the DUP/UUP ever democratic unless it was to their advantage?….

  • Ryan

    “because there exists a general distrust of the media (with good reason)”
    As this week in the South with RTE has shown Robin. I don’t think I have seen such crude and obvious bias from a state broadcaster in my life. RTE is openly trying to sink Sinn Fein’s election campaign in the South and aren’t even worried that its so obvious to everyone. Not only are RTE breaking every rule in the book (balance, equal air time, etc) but they are basically ignoring the massive social media response to this. I’m not surprised SF don’t trust the media, I wouldn’t either.

  • Robin Keogh

    RTE are not a patch on Independent News and Media, The Irish Independent and Sunday Independent effectively lie to try and influence the election result, its scary stuff in a country that is supposed to be a democracy.

  • Jack Stone

    Don’t act like the RTE has some political hack motive. Sinn Fein have a high disapproval rating. Negative stories about Sinn Fein drive ratings. Why do you think the Irish Independent has posted 9 negative articles about Sinn Fein in the last 24 hours? (including an aptly named 10 reasons not to vote for Sinn Fein) Because negative articles about Sinn Fein draw clicks, readers and interest. The problem is, they arent drawing up new accusations. It isnt like the average Sinn Fein voter is in the dark over it’s past, neutral on Gerry Adams’s grasp of figures, or where they stand on issues like the The Special Criminal Court. Might this make them more transfer toxic? perhaps but even the most recent numbers on that show that they are less transfer toxic than they were in the past. Until it stops being popular to denounce Sinn Fein as a danger to Irish democracy, the media will continue pushing that line.

  • Kev Hughes

    Didn’t have a good Sabbath?

    I’m sure there’s a ball here, just you go looking for it in the long grass kiddo 😉

  • chrisjones2

    mentioning wrecking the presses at gunpoint “as a joke” does tend to perhaps make them a tad biased

  • barnshee

    65 people?—that will sure tip the balance at election time

  • barnshee

    SF/ DUP /ETC activists/members masquerade as independent bloggers whoda thunk it

  • Kev Hughes

    Awwww, poor Wullie behind the ‘controversial’ troll Barnshee likes to play the man and not the ball.

    Were my eyes too close together, is that how you came to that conclusion?

    Some things never change…

  • barnshee

    “Were my eyes too close together, is that how you came to that conclusion?

    Some things never change…”

    Re-read MY general comment on looking for the ball

    “SF/ DUP /ETC activists/members masquerade as independent bloggers whoda thunk it”
    Not sure about the eyes but your response suggests you took them off the “ball”

  • Kev Hughes

    ‘Re-read MY general comment on looking for the ball’

    Oh I read it the first time, and there was no ball there, only a personal ‘attack’, something you seem all too keen to continue with.

    Keep it up Wullie, we do love the videos on FB and Youtube, great lighthearted entertainment 😉

  • barnshee

    Try another read

    “SF/DUP/ ETC” would seem to cover the whole ” field “-of slabbers of whatever hue who “masquerade as independent bloggers ” It is:-

    1 Hardly “personal”
    and
    2 Is Fully inclusive of ALL the slabbers

  • Kev Hughes

    ‘1 Hardly “personal”‘ – hmmm, it was a reply to my comment and not one in general, so yes, you aimed your ‘ire’ at me.

    ‘2 Is Fully inclusive of ALL the slabbers’ – shall I include you as one?

    No, you replied to something I said and insinuated at best that I was masquerading as an ‘independent’ blogger while acting for someone else.

    That’s x3 you’ve come back with some form of personal attack. Now, shall I hold my breath for number 4 ?

  • barnshee

    Oh dear

    Go back to the top level comment aimed at the blogger

    “Political party has infighting shock.
    In other news half term will be over soon so Mr. Donnelly will go back to teaching.
    Help: who will be left to bring all of unionism’s failings to our attention.”

    Which I interpret that there is an agenda -a ball ? in play here

    then we have

    “Didn’t have a good Sabbath?

    I’m sure there’s a ball here, just you go looking for it in the long grass kiddo ;)”

    I am unsure what the Sabbath has to do with it but you seem to suggest there is no “ball” -(agenda) here

    I then suggest that there is an agenda across the blogsphere

    “SF/ DUP /ETC activists/members masquerade as independent bloggers whoda thunk it”

    That is party members masquerade as independent bloggers to promote party position (note I don`t differentiate)

    The blogger and his/her respondents have no “agenda” ?

  • Kev Hughes

    This is hilarious. I think we need someone from Kilkeel to get you out of all of these knots.

    Let’s go through your ‘points’/rants raised.

    Turgon, plays the Man.

    I highlight he’s playing the man.

    ‘I then suggest that there is an agenda across the blogsphere’ – that’s utter, utter BS. You typed the following as a direct response to my comment:

    ‘SF/ DUP /ETC activists/members masquerade as independent bloggers whoda thunk it’

    You didn’t mention Chris Donnelly at all, otherwise, if it were aimed at Chris you wouldn’t have commented directly to me.

    ‘The blogger and his/her respondents have no “agenda” ?’ – go on, do share with the group:

    i) what any ‘agenda’ has to do with actually dealing with points he has raised in his post?;
    ii) what’s wrong with having an ‘agenda’? Is he not allowed one?

    Get over yourself and don’t be so sloppy with your trolling.

  • barnshee

    “Turgon, plays the Man.

    I highlight he’s playing the man.”

    Agreed- of course he is (Chis is a SF member and T is hinting there is an Agenda)

    You appear to suggest there is no agenda “, just you go looking for it in the long grass kiddo ;)”

    (There is nothing wrong with having agendas)

    I point out that the blogsphere is full of agendas —some masquerading as neutral comment. I don`t aim at anyone in particular

    (I still can`t make out the Sabbath bit)

  • Kev Hughes

    Someone has changed their tone very quickly.

    ‘Agreed- of course he is (Chis is a SF member and T is hinting there is an Agenda)’ -And?! It matters not, it’s the points raised in the piece. Jeebus, if there is something wrong in the piece then we highlight what is incorrect. It is not crime to be a member of or support SF even if some would wish so.

    ‘I point out that the blogsphere is full of agendas —some masquerading as neutral comment. I don`t aim at anyone in particular’ – repeating BS doesn’t make it true, no matter how many times you say it. You replied to me and never mentioned Chris Donnelly until I kept challenging you, now you are merely changing the facts.

    ‘(I still can`t make out the Sabbath bit)’ – as Turgon posted it on a Sunday according to Slugger. Nothing cryptic.

    You’re not getting your head around this whole ‘play the ball, not the man’ concept, are you?

  • Robin Keogh

    Ha! Lol. I didnt need that, off the cuff reference to 100 years ago to kick the shinners around

  • Kevin Breslin

    Arguably the UUP’s free vote policy is democratic though it is representational not delegated version.

  • Chingford Man

    Now be fair. He just didn’t want to write about Michelle Gildernew and her own selection travails.

  • barnshee

    No change of tone and no alteration in anything already written

    ER unlike you

    “Didn’t have a good Sabbath?

    I’m sure there’s a ball here, just you go looking for it in the long grass kiddo ;)”

    I have yet to play the man

    ” You replied to me and never mentioned Chris Donnelly until I kept challenging you” A careful read will show that I was noting that T was clouding the issue by hinting at an ulterior motive .
    I have made no comment on any individual and remiind you

    I point out that the blogsphere is full of agendas —some masquerading as neutral comment. I don`t aim at anyone in particular’ QED

  • Kev Hughes

    You just digging down there, ay honey?

    ‘I have yet to play the man’ – sure…

    ‘A careful read will show that I was noting that T was clouding the issue by hinting at an ulterior motive .’ – so careful, it frankly only exists in the mind of yourself.

    ‘I point out that the blogsphere is full of agendas’ – again, only in your own mind. The part where you have insufficient words posted to actually have said that would probably be where your point falls down.

    You know, I should apologise to you. You did seek to change the tone and back track earlier and I just pointed out the holes in your argument and continue to do so. I’m sure your little ego couldn’t take that so you just went back to what you always do and repeat the same BS as before.

    How’s about next time, when you have a general point to make, you post it solo, like everyone else on the planet, as opposed to a reply to someone (myself in this instance) and fill in all those gaps you have wrote with actual words so that we know what you’re talking about, otherwise people like me will continue to call out the BS you continue to post here and point out how you constantly chop and change your story, ay? How’s about that honey?

    You run along now, wouldn’t want you being late for school now pet.

  • barnshee

    “I point out that the blogsphere is full of agendas’ – again, only in your own mind. The part where you have insufficient words posted to actually have said that would probably be where your point falls down.”

    OK then examples of agendas in the blogsphere

    Families Acting for Innocent Relatives (FAIR) -single one sided agenda

    Relatives for Justice -selective definition of “Victim”

    The list of agenda driven presence on the webis substantial

    http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/victims/groups/victimgroups.html#fear

    PS –the loss of 65 votes (max) is hardly “melt down”