Fair Deal and Mick have already mentioned this but there’s another point of interest to note. Sinn Féin’s Alex Maskey threatened to set his lawyers on Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie for her comments about Robert McCartney’s murder [Whatever happened to the previous writ? – Ed], but with parliamentary privilege in play he had to settle for a gentle chiding of the minister by the Speaker, the DUP’s Willie Hay – as Newton Emerson noted on Saturday.
There were angry exchanges in the Assembly when SDLP minister Margaret Ritchie told Sinn Feins Alex Maskey that she can hardly look at him without thinking of the murder of Robert McCartney. She will soon be listening to my lawyers, Mr Maskey blustered, twice. If so, she will surely hear that Stormont has full parliamentary privilege and members can say anything they like without fear of litigation. Doesnt Mr Maskey know this? When the privilege was granted in 1999, he gave The Irish News an interview about it.
The interview, or rather quotes, from Alex Maskey complaining about parliamentary privilege being extended to the Assembly is available online in Google’s cache – original article here [subs req]. And here are the original comments, lawyers threats, ruling and studio discussion from today’s Stormont Live.