East Londonderry Alliance Association Chair Paddy McGowan has said Unionists are engaged in a denial of democracy by refusing to allow the runner-up to take the seat vacated by DUP man Dessie Stewart after he was found guilty of electoral fraud.
Mr McGowan stated: “It has been proved beyond doubt that last year the former DUP councillor stole the last seat in the Skerries area of Coleraine from the Alliance candidate by fraud. Tonight, the Ulster Unionists tried to take it by dubious tactics. Whoever would have won the seat last year, it certainly wasn’t the Ulster Unionists.
“In any sporting event, if the winner is disqualified, the runner-up takes the prize. Why are Unionists scared of letting Barney Fitzpatrick take the prize that he deserves?
“Barney Fitzpatrick was just a handful of votes behind the DUP and, at elimination, well ahead of any Ulster Unionist candidate. Now Ulster Unionists are trying to deny the true outcome of an election by proportional representation. We know what the people of Skerries want and it shouldn’t need an expensive by-election in December to prove it.
“The people of Skerries will see to it that the Ulster Unionists will get the response they deserve for this moral bankruptcy.”