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Dublin: 21 °C Friday 25 May, 2018
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'Under pressure' to attend meetings, Kelly says he borrowed bolt cutters from gym to remove clamp

The Northern policing spokesman has since paid the clamping fine.

Gerry Kelly, who was filmed removing a clamp from his car with a bolt cutters, says he has now paid the fine.
Gerry Kelly, who was filmed removing a clamp from his car with a bolt cutters, says he has now paid the fine.
Image: Sam Boal

SINN FÉIN’S GERRY Kelly, who removed a clamp from his car outside a gym in Belfast, said he has now paid the fine.

Kelly, who serves as the party’s policing spokesman for the North, was filmed from a number of angles removing the clamp from his front wheel on Friday morning.

A pair of bolt cutters appears to be visible on the ground beside the politician in the videos, which have been shared widely online.

Once the clamp is removed, Kelly is seen placing it against a nearby wall before driving away.

After footage of the incident emerged, the party confirmed the incident.

original Screengrab of footage

The incident was met with opprobrium in Unionist circles, with TUV leader Jim Allister declaring the “flagrant breach of the law in removing a clamping device is something for which this pardon-swaggering MLA must not escape criminal liability”.

Last night, Kelly tweeted that he would meet with police if necessary.

In a statement this afternoon, Kelly outlined in more detail what took place on Friday:

I came out of the gym just after 8am to head to Stormont for talks. I saw that my car had been clamped. I phoned the number on the notice and the only response I got was music.
I then went in to the Mac and asked had they another number for the company. I immediately rang that number and this number was out of use.

Kelly said he was “under pressure” to get to the Northern Ireland talks meetings, which is why he made an “on-the-spot decision” which he said he now regrets.

“I remembered that the gym had a set of bolt cutters and I borrowed them. Let me add that staff at the gym were not aware what I was using the bolt cutters for. I then removed the clamp.

“I made an on-the-spot decision which I now regret,” he stated, adding:

I have contacted the company and paid the fine. The issue has now been resolved.

Kelly, a former high-profile IRA operative and political prisoner, has been a Sinn Féin MLA for Belfast North since 1998.

Read: Sinn Féin’s Gerry Kelly says he has spoken to police after being filmed removing a clamp>

Read: Sinn Féin’s Northern policing spokesman filmed removing clamp from car with bolt cutters>

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