ALLIANCE Assembly candidate Kieran McCarthy has expressed his anger at the SDLP for canvassing outside places of worship in the Strangford constituency.
Mr McCarthy said: “I have received a number of complaints from angry parishioners about the SDLP canvassing inside the grounds of St Patrick’s Church in Newtownards after Mass. St Mary’s in Comber was also targeted.
“I know that the SDLP candidate is a relative newcomer to politics, but this makes a mockery of the party’s claims to be non-sectarian, as I have never heard of any SDLP candidate canvassing outside other churches. However, Alliance firmly believes that politics and religion should be kept separate.
“The SDLP might only be after Catholic votes in Strangford, but as an Alliance representative I have and will continue to represent the whole community, no matter what religion my constituents are.
“The SDLP is incapable of representing the entire community and owes an apology to the parish priest in Ards, who I understand did not grant any permission for political activity on church grounds.”
It is understood that the SDLP canvasser has now apologised to the Church, although the candidate was told the Ards Chronicle that he was “too busy” to canvass outside Protestant churches!
Mr McCarthy said: “For a party calling for a crackdown on sectarianism, the SDLP seem to be guilty of promoting it in Strangford.”