‘I just could not do the job in the way I want to do it and my health would not allow me to do it – Willie Hay.
ALLEGATIONS of expenses fraud had nothing to do with Willie Hay’s(pictred below) exit from his role as assembly speaker, he has insisted in his first interveiw since the controversy broke.
The former DUP Foyle assembly member, who was ennobled last month as Baron Hay of Ballyore, said health concerns were the only thing behind his departure in October. Claiming he is “very, very much” out of the woods, with his angina under control with “a couple of tablets a day”, Lord Hay nevertheless said the demands of long hours as Stormont speaker were too much for him to maintain. His resignation came after revelations a BBC Spotlight programme about his expenses and an oil bill. He has since suspended a member of staff pending the outcome of a police investigation into possible fraud at his constituency office. “I stepped because of health reasons and only health reasons. I just could not do the job in the way I want to do it and my health would not allow me to do it.” Lord Hay told Radio Foyle on Friday. “I was doing 10/12 hours a day, sometimes five/six days a week, the pressure travelling, all of that. “I mean the issues that you’re dealing with on a day to day basis. “All of it builds up and I suppose from my point of veiw I probably should have been to the doctor a year before the situation got worse. That’s were I fell down. “It’s a warning for everybody, I think especially in public life. The pressure gets so great you get so much involved in the job, that you think you can’t be done without.” The Donegal-born politician, who famously suspended Iris Robinson, wife of his party leader, from the assembly, said he had beej suffering from “small pains” in his chest for some time, but it came to a head one day when they did not abate as he was about to leave for the long commute to Stormont. “The wife said to me “I am going to phone the out of hours doctor’ and that’s what happened and then I was taken in, stayed for three or four days. (I’m) still on medication. “I’m feeling reasonably well, but I just have to be careful.” Lord Hay insisted that his conscience is clear about the expenses controversy, saying it was he who contacted police to report the irregularity. “I went to the police long before the programme went out. I made the first move. I have no regrets, none whatso-ever,” he said. There’s an ongoing police investigation but I made the first move here.”
With many thanks to: Bimpe Archer, The Irish News, for the origional story.