Stephen Farry stated:
“This will be no ordinary election. People will not be happy about being asked to return to the polls so close to Christmas for a totally unnecessary election.
“People will be angry with the DUP. The electoral fraud committed by one of their councillors meant that the democratic views of the people of the Skerries District were not properly recognised in the 2005 Election.
“People will be angry with the UUP for wasting the £15,000 of local ratepayers money on party political games. This is money that would be far better spent improving local services.
“In 2005, Alliance candidate, Barney Fitzpatrick was the runner-up by only a handful of votes. This fraud gave the DUP an unfair and illegal advantage. Barney was the next candidate in line to have been returned. The desire of the people of the Skerries to see an Alliance candidate elected was subverted.
“Any sense of natural justice would not see a discredited DUP councillor replaced by another member from the same party. Similarly, the UUP have no legitimate claim on the seat.
“The most appropriate response by Coleraine Council to the vacancy that resulted Dessie Stewart’s conviction and resignation would have been to co-opt Barney Fitzpatrick. The people of the Skerries will have the opportunity to put right what the Council were clearly unable to do.”