DUP candidate: RHI has been blown out of proportion by media

DUP leader Arlene Foster with Trevor Clarke
DUP leader Arlene Foster with Trevor Clarke

Trevor Clarke, DUP candidate in South Antrim, has said that the election was down to “an agenda driven by Sinn Fein” rather than in response to RHI – which he said is an issue that had been inflated by the media.

Mr Clarke, who last time around polled 3,589 first preference votes – about 200 more than SDLP challenger Roisin Lynch, 300 more than UUP rival Stephen Aiken and about 450 more than Alliance’s David Ford – faced a tough fight in seeking to hold his seat.

He said he has personally knocked over 10,000 doors in a bid to secure his place in the Assembly again. Workers at the Valley Leisure Centre, Newtownabbey, are now tallying the ballot papers.

Asked what he was hearing on doorsteps about the RHI (Renewable Heat Incentive) scandal, which the News Letter has helped lead the way in exposing, and which is said to have largely been the trigger for the current election, he replied: “RHI hasn’t been as big an issue as the media has made it an issue before the election.

“For us, the last number of weeks, people have seen what this is really about.

“This is an agenda driven by Sinn Fein to try and advance their own cause. So people have got wise to that. And hopefully people yesterday will have cast their vote the right way and send that message back to return the DUP to the strength and place that they belong.”