Conall McDevitt steps down from his MLA post…

This is the end for Conall McDevitt and public life… That storm in a teacup blew up into something rather more when it segued into something rather more… What made him walk was a handover payment from his former employers, Weber Shandwick which he failed to declare

In early 2010 I received payment from my former employers. I’d been managing director of a company and I received payment in order to help the new management team bed in.

“That should have been declared and it wasn’t. That’s a serious breach, in my opinion, of the code.

“I have rectified it today, but I entered politics to try and bring about change and positive change, and I feel I have fallen below the standards expected of someone in public life.

Here’s his statement…

Today I have submitted by resignation as an MLA with immediate effect.

Over the past few weeks there has been considerable public interest in my use of public money. I am satisfied that at all times I complied with the obligations on me and am compliant with my duties.

Between March 2010 and August 2010 I received a total of £6750 from my former employers, Weber Shandwick. These payments related to internal work within Weber Shandwick. I resigned as Managing Director of the Belfast office in December 2009 and I provided support and mentoring to the new management team following my departure from the company. I was never asked to nor did I ever represent any of the company’s clients whilst an MLA.

These payments were made through JM Consulting, a consultancy which my wife has an interest in. These are registerable interests under the Assembly rules. I have now registered these earnings on my register.

My failure to register these interests at the time means that I have fallen below the standards of expected of me in public office. I have done my best to discharge my duties as an MLA with integrity but there is no question that I failed to do so on this occasion.

I apologise unreservedly for my failures in this regard.

It has been the greatest honour of my professional life to serve the people of South Belfast and the SDLP since January 2010. I will forever treasure the opportunity given to me to make a contribution to the building of a new society here. That work will be continued by my successor whomever he or she may be.

I would like to ask for some privacy at this time for myself and my family.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty