Davy Tweed

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David Alexander Tweed [1] (born 13 November 1959 in Ballymoney, County Antrim) is an Irish former rugby union international and former Traditional Unionist Voice councillor on Ballymena Borough Council. He was convicted in 2012 on 13 counts of gross indecency, indecent assault of two young girls and inciting gross indecency. His conviction was quashed on 25 October 2016.

Contents

Sport

Tweed won four caps for Ireland in the mid-1990s, with his first, against France, in 1995. [2]

Political career

Tweed was first elected as a DUP councillor for the Ballymena South electoral district in 1997. [3] He was re-elected for the DUP in 2001 and 2005. [3]

In 2007 Tweed was among six Ballymena DUP councillors who refused to canvass for the party in the Assembly elections because of the DUP's policy of sharing power with Sinn Féin. [4] Tweed attempted to resign in February 2007, [5] and he along with five other councillors subsequently resigned from the party and redesignated themselves as the Ulster Unionist Coalition Party (UUCP). [6]

In 2009, four of the UUCP group left to join Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV), [7] but Tweed remained with the UUCP along with councillor William Wilkinson, head of research for the unionist pressure group Families Acting for Innocent Relatives. In June 2010 Wilkinson was imprisoned, following his conviction for rape. [8] In November 2010, Tweed joined the Traditional Unionist Voice bloc on the council, [9] and he was re-elected in 2011 to Ballymena Borough Council as a TUV candidate. [3]

Tweed was a member of the Orange Order and belonged to a lodge in Dunloy. He was involved in protests relating to the Parades Commission's restrictions on Orange marches in Dunloy. [10] [11]

Controversies

On 29 October 1997, shortly after his election to Ballymena Council, Tweed was fined at Coleraine magistrates court for assault. [12]

On 8 June 2006 at a Ballymena Borough Council meeting, Tweed said that he "questioned the upbringing" of a 15-year-old Catholic, Michael McIlveen, who had recently been murdered in Ballymena in a sectarian attack. He also claimed people linked to the victim's family had been involved in intimidation of Protestants after the murder. [13]

On 22 September 2007, Tweed was stopped while driving a car under the influence of alcohol. On 21 January 2008, North Antrim Magistrates Court banned him from driving for a year and handed down a £250 fine. [14]

In January 2009, Tweed was charged with ten sex offences against two young girls, spanning an eight-year period; he was acquitted in May 2009. [15] [16] He was acquitted on 27 November 2012 of one charge of indecent assault on a child. [1] [17]

On 28 November 2012, he was convicted on 13 counts of gross indecency, indecent assault of two young girls and inciting gross indecency, spanning an eight-year period from 1988 onwards. [18] His conviction was quashed on 25 October 2016. [19]

After the conviction was announced the Orange Order terminated his membership of the organisation. The Royal Black Institution, of which Tweed is also a member, stated it had begun the process of expelling him from its membership. [20] Pending sentencing he remained a member of Ballymena Borough Council and of the TUV, [18] although the party announced on 15 November that it had 'suspended' his membership "not because we doubt his innocence, but because this is what the party rules require." [21] The TUV noted that the sex offences related "to a period long before he was a member of this party". [22] The TUV chose one of its unsuccessful 2011 candidates, Timothy Gaston, to replace Tweed as a councillor. [23]

Personal life

Tweed was born on a farm outside Dunloy. Married in 1984, he and his wife have four children; the family lived in Ballymoney. Prior to his 2012 conviction Tweed was estranged from his wife, Margaret, and had been living in Ballymena. Employed as an infrastructure supervisor for Northern Ireland railways, he previously worked as a bouncer at a Ballymoney bar. [24]

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References

  1. 1 2 "Former Ireland rugby international cleared of one child sex abuse charge". BreakingNews.ie. 27 November 2012. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
  2. 'Injury forces Ireland's Cronin to withdraw', The Times page 40, 3 March 1995
  3. 1 2 3 ARK archive on Ballymena elections
  4. Newsletter – Gang of six refuse to campaign for DUP party leader
  5. "Parties hit by more resignations". BBC News. 1 March 2007. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
  6. Sunday Times report of Ballymena split
  7. News Letter report of UUCP defections to TUV
  8. BBC report of Wilkinson's sentence
  9. TUV press release Archived 23 April 2013 at Archive.today , 6 November 2010
  10. Dunloy lodge hits out at 'Being denied rights' The Newsletter
  11. Tweed and his LOL lose appeal over parade ban Belfast Telegraph
  12. CAIN Chronology
  13. McIlveen family Tweed comments Nuzhound
  14. Councillor caught drink driving
  15. Belfast Telegraph report of 2009 acquittal
  16. Report of Tweed's 2009 acquittal, newsletter.co.uk; accessed 3 May 2015.
  17. BBC News report of 2012 acquittal
  18. 1 2 "Former Irish rugby international David Tweed guilty of child sex abuse". Belfast Telegraph. 29 November 2012. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
  19. David Tweed: former Ireland rugby international child sexual abuse convictions quashed
  20. "David Tweed expelled from Orange Order due to abuse conviction", bbc.co.uk, 29 November 2012.
  21. News Letter, Belfast, 15 November 2012
  22. "Tweed remarks hurt family, says mum of murder victim", The Irish News, 30 November 2012.
  23. Maeve Connolly, "TUV replaces sex abuser ex-councillor", [The Irish News], 16 February 2013
  24. "Tweed among toughest in Irish rugby" The Newsletter 28 November 2012