ALLIANCE Assembly candidate for South Antrim David Ford has criticised David Burnside (UUP) for advising voters not to give any preference to Alliance, saying that this can only help the Sinn Fein candidate Martin Meehan.
David Ford stated: “We have known for some months that Mr Burnside has been making very personal remarks against me, and telling his supporters not to transfer their votes to me. Indeed, back in April, my office was rung by a unionist member, disgusted that such comments were being made. Last week, Mr Burnside made his position public.
“The comments of David Burnside contrast with the opinions of virtually every observer and the activists of other parties in South Antrim.
“All are agreed that the last seat in the constituency is a tight contest between Alliance and Sinn Fein. Voters will have to choose between David Ford and Martin Meehan.
“Either Mr Burnside is too stupid to understand how PR works, or he wants Martin Meehan to be elected. There is no other possible explanation.
“Whatever the reason, Mr Burnside’s advice favours Sinn Fein.
“In contrast, the Alliance advice is quite clear. I am calling for electors to give their first choice vote to Alliance, and continue numbering those candidates who have shown that they are prepared to work constructively together for the good of the whole community.
“I believe that those who lent their votes to Mr Burnside two years ago have now seen the way he has behaved and will not be supporting him at this election.”
Respected political commentator Nicholas Whyte says on the Northern Ireland Elections website: “The Alliance seat is vulnerable, but Ford can fend off the Sinn Fein challenge if he gets enough transfers from Unionists.”