THE News Letter (February 18) carried an article by SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell headlined “Unity candidates only cement divisions and drag us back to past”, which contained a number of points that I would like to address.
Dr McDonnell said: “MPs are elected to represent everyone in their constituency, not to pursue a narrow sectarian agenda.”
On this, at least, we agree. I wonder could the good doctor tell me how Martin McGuinness, MP for Mid Ulster since 1997, has ‘represented’ unionists – or anyone else in Mid Ulster - within the House of Commons by refusing to take his seat for almost 16 years?
An agreed candidate in a ‘first past the post election’ is not symptomatic of unionist unity, rather, it is a pragmatic approach taken by the two main unionist parties to address non-representation within our Parliament.
However, in a PR election (council/Assembly/European). provided the unionist electorate fully transfer their votes, each of our unionist parties can run their own candidates to the advantage of maximising unionist representation.
Finally, whilst Mr McDonnell is on the moral high ground, perhaps he could explain why in Newry & Mourne his councillors chose to vote to name a children’s play park, of all things, after an IRA terrorist? Actions really do speak louder than words.
Derek R Hussey
Ulster Unionist Councillor
Strabane District Council