Alliance veteran to stand against his former party in council elections

Kieran McCarthy
Kieran McCarthy

A former Alliance chief whip is to stand against his old party in May’s council elections, with the aim of tackling a number of key environmental issues in his local area.

Kircubbin man Kieran McCarthy, who served on Ards Borough Council for 28 years and was a Strangford MLA from 1998 until his retirement in 2016, is hoping to make a return to politics at the age of 76.

But having let his Alliance Party membership lapse last year, he will now go up against the party’s chosen candidate in the Ards Peninsula DEA as he seeks to secure a seat on Ards and North Down Council.

Mr McCarthy, who insists he is still “Alliancey-minded”, explained why he will stand in opposition to the candidate selected by his former party.

“I do a lot of cycling, particularly around the Ards Peninsula where I live, and I felt there are a number of environmental issues that are not being tackled so I thought ‘why not have a go at getting a seat on Ards and North Down Borough Council and tackle these environmental problems’, so that’s what I decided to do,” he said.

“My subscription had lapsed and I wasn’t involved in any meetings so didn’t know what was going on. But when I made inquiries, the Alliance Party, like most other parties I’m sure, had already selected their candidate for the council election, so there was nothing there for me and so I’ve decided to run on my own.”

Mr McCarthy insists he has no issue with the Alliance leadership and his return to political life is motivated by a passion to tackle local issues such as littering, planning concerns and the need for improvement works at Kircubbin harbour.

“There is plenty of life in me yet and plenty of determination to get something done,” he added.