Councillor’s plea for ‘keyboard warriors’ to engage in politics

Loyalist flag protestors outside Belfast City Hall
Loyalist flag protestors outside Belfast City Hall

Unionists must fully engage with the political process to change Northern Ireland for the better, a Belfast DUP councillor has claimed.

Lee Reynolds was speaking after the News Letter revealed that thousands of people living in mainly unionist areas in north and east Belfast had some of the lowest voter registration rates in the Province.

The majority of wards in east Belfast remain below the average registration rate of 88.3 per cent, while Woodstock in south-east Belfast (69.1 per cent) and Woodvale in the north of the city (79.2 per cent) had particularly poor response rates despite canvass by the Electoral Office.

By comparison, many of greater Belfast’s mainly nationalist areas such as Twinbrook, Poleglass and Andersonstown have a take-up rate greater than 90 per cent.

Commenting on the number of people who use social media websites to engage on important issues, Cllr Reynolds said: “Practical politics isn’t about being a keyboard warrior.”

He added: “If anyone needs any help [getting registered] their local DUP office would be happy to help them.

“In our North Belfast office we run a programme where anytime someone comes across the door looking help we check if they are on the register and, if not, we make them aware of that and encourage them to apply.

“We still have people who say no, but that’s what we do to try to bolster the registration rates.”

Outside of Belfast, a number of predominantly unionist villages have registration rates above 95 per cent.