Campbell welcomes Carlin co-option in Newtownabbey

Alliance Councillor Tom Campbell has welcomed the decision of Newtownabbey Borough Council to unanimously co-opt Brendan Carlin, a Glengormley based businessman to fill the Council vacancy in the Antrim Line electoral area caused by the resignation of former Sinn Fein Councillor Briege Meehan.

Councillor Campbell, who is the Alliance Party Group leader on the Council, proposed the successful cooption at a special meeting of the Council last night (Wednesday) called to consider either a cooption or a bye election to fill the this council vacancy. He said:

“Election law is clear that upon a vacancy occurring, the Council must take steps to expedite the filling of the vacant seat. In this case, it is rare for unanimous agreement across all the parties on the Council. Brendan Carlin is a well-respected, independent-minded local businessman whose talents will be an asset to the Council. I am aware that this was previously a Sinn Fein seat. However, Mrs Meehan had been suspended by her party a year ago following allegations about her personal life and the party failed to inform the Council. Sinn Fein only contacted the Alliance Party office at Stormont a few hours before the meeting being called to consider a co-option. At that time and even at such a late stage, the party failed to put forward a name for consideration. At no time did Sinn Fein contact any of the Councillors on the Council to see about putting forward a name. No doubt there will be the usual bleating that they have been unfairly dealt with as a party but communication is essential in such matters and in this respect Sinn Fein failed abjectly to get in touch. The different parties on Newtownabbey Borough Council do not have a crystal ball and cannot be expected to anticipate the actions of other parties.”

Cllr Campbell concluded: “I am delighted in the Council’s choice of Brendan Carlin. With only a year to go before the next local government elections, it would have been unforgiveable if the Council had to spend £30,000 of council money not budgeted for this year on a bye election that Sinn Fein would not have won anyway. This was a sensible and pragmatic decision that will save unnecessary expense and will allow the electors of Antrim Line to be properly represented in the last year of the Council.”


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