Giro posters, a ‘Catholic name’ and fears of splitting unionist vote

Election Diary 2014
Election Diary 2014

A council candidate in Mid Ulster has said that he fears his “Catholic name” may harm his bid to win a seat on a cross-community ticket.

Mick Kelly, who has been involved with Killowen Community Group, is standing as an independent in the Magherafelt area.

Mr Kelly, who is planning to champion “community and social issues only”, said that he hoped people would see beyond “the Catholic name”.

He told the Mid Ulster Mail: “I know my name does me no favours in the unionist community but if they listen to what I have to say they may look beyond the Catholic name.”

Mr Kelly, who worked to establish a local oil club to assist those struggling to pay for their heating, said: “My vision is to see communities take ownership of their areas; to give people a voice where previously they had none.”

He said the vast majority of the electorate are “blissfully unaware” of the new powers local council will have executive power over.

Posters down on Giro route in Northern Ireland, but up in Republic

Election posters may have been cleared from the route of the Giro d’Italia in Northern Ireland – on pain of a £2,500 fine – but south of the border, political activists have been erecting posters along the route.

Indeed, so numerous have the posters become along the roads where the cycle race will proceed, that the race organisers have described it as “disappointing”.

In February, the Alliance Party suggested a voluntary ban on posters along the route, and the other major parties agreed to regulations which ensure that no one party can obtain an unfair advantage by breaching the agreement.

At the time, veteran unionist Lord Kilclooney raised concerns about the proposed poster ban, pointing out that in a Europe-wide election it would be odd for television viewers to see political posters along the route – but not in Northern Ireland.

Criticising how southern politicians have used the race to generate publicity, David Brennan from the Dublin City Business Association, told the Sunday Times: “It is unacceptable that politicians who do not create wealth may now, however inadvertently, damage the image of Ireland.”

DUP: Don’t shred pro-Union vote

The DUP’s Jeffrey Donaldson has become the latest senior party figure to raise concerns about the number of pro-Union candidates in the European election.

The Lagan Valley MP and former Ulster Unionist said that the number of unionist candidates “will help non-unionists get elected”.

In what is again emerging as the DUP’s key electoral argument, Mr Donaldson said: “The theory that votes cannot be split within an STV election is sound, but the practical reality is that votes splinter with numerous candidates.

“Even between candidates from the same political party not all votes transfer between them, and this is only magnified between candidates of different parties.

“It is vital that everyone uses their vote and transfers to other unionist candidates.”