Paddy McGowan stated:
“Having pleaded guilty to multiple counts of electoral fraud, the position of Dessie Stewart on Coleraine Council is now morally untenable. He should now do the decent thing and resign from the Council forthwith, in advance of being sentenced.
“This fraud gave the DUP an unfair and illegal advantage in last year’s local government elections in the Skerries DEA. The person most affected was the runner-up in the poll, Alliance candidate Barney Fitzpatrick, who only lost by a handful of votes to the DUP.
“Any sense of natural justice would not see one discredited DUP councillor replaced by another member from the same party. The most appropriate response by Coleraine Council to any vacancy that results from this conviction would be to co-opt Barney Fitzpatrick.”