Dysfunctional DUP in Belfast boosts SF

editorial image

Belfast City Council has appointed a new Lord Mayor, Alderman Brian Kingston, leader of the DUP at City Hall.

More significantly however it also saw the return of Lee Reynolds to the DUP benches.

This is the third time Mr Reynolds will have been co-oped onto the council, this time to replace Christopher Stalford the newly elected MLA for South Belfast.

Mr Reynolds, a leading DUP strategist and former leader of the DUP at City Hall is currently heading up the Vote Leave Campaign in Northern Ireland.

In the past Mr Reynolds has made it clear that he prefers the backroom, where he excels, rather than the frontline of elected politics. His electoral record would certainly suggest that is the correct choice.

But Mr Reynolds has been forced out of retirement, as it were, because of the dysfunctional nature of the DUP at City Hall.

This was clearly demonstrated last week when it emerged that the party at City Hall were unable to select a candidate for Lord Mayor, forcing the First Minister Arlene Foster to step in and sort them out.

The fact that Alderman Kingston, party group leader at the time, was unable to secure the role without help from party headquarters is an illustration of just how factious the DUP at City Hall has become.

But the problems for the party go much deeper than that.

When I look at the DUP benches I am shocked at just how weak their team at City Hall has become.

Now that Christopher Stalford has moved to the Assembly they are effectively rudderless. The talent pool that remains, I am afraid to say is frightening shallow.

Frightening because the next election is three years away and another three years of a dysfunctional DUP group at City Hall can only be to the benefit of republicans.

Mr Reynolds and I were house mates at university a quarter of a century ago now.

I welcome him back to City Hall not only as a friend. But also because I fear an extended period in which the DUP can not be relied upon by unionist voters in Belfast.

Graham Craig, UUP councillor, Botanic DEA