Election diary: I’m standing to literally save the seat, says veteran

Billy Dickson
Billy Dickson

South Belfast candidate Billy Dickson is literally standing to save the constituency.

Mr Dickson, a former DUP member who has founded the South Belfast Unionists party, is one of 18 candidates on the crowded ballot paper.

Referring to boundary proposals form the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government which would have done away with the South Belfast seat, the veteran figure warned that South Belfast could be “carved up between West Belfast and East Belfast”.

In election literature, Mr Dickson said: “Although ‘blocked’ in 2013, we are sure it has not gone away and Billy Dickson, who campaigned vigorously to save the constituency, said: ‘We must have a United South Belfast voice to save the South Belfast Constituency, for if we don’t then from about 2020, The South Belfast Constituency will be confined to history.”

Mr Dickson also took full credit for the Broadway Roundabout Rise sculpture (colloquially known as ‘the balls on the Falls’) being “within the South Belfast constituency”, something he said was “wholly” down to his effort.

Mr Dickson is also objecting to apartments being built in the area and called for “the rebuilding of traditional new build houses in the Charles Street South and Hope Street area”.

Gerry Adams calls for the politics of condemnation

For years, Gerry Adams infamously refused to engage in “the politics of condemnation” when asked to respond to IRA atrocities.

But now the Sinn Fein president has demanded that every election candidate give “an unequivocal condemnation” of violent dissident groups.

UUP leader Mike Nesbitt responded by saying that he had “spent years trying to get Gerry Adams to make the sort of unequivocal statement he is now calling on others to make.. In previously defending the IRA’s actions, Sinn Féin have drawn the road map today’s terrorists use.”

Mr Adams hit back at the UUP leader last night, accusing him of “placing narrow party electoral interests above those of communities” and adding: “Sinn Féin has consistently condemned these armed groups and demanded that they stop.”

Woodland Trust: vote for trees

The Woodland Trust is urging its supporters to press candidates on their plans for trees.

The charity has distributed doorhangers across the Province to remind householders of the issue when candidates knock at their door. Patrick Cregg, the charity’s director in the Province, stressed that it had no view on who its members should vote for.

Upcoming hustings

lNorth Antrim: The Braid, April 27, Ballymena, 7.30pm. (Organised by trade union Unite, focused on employment).

lSouth Belfast: Agape Centre (238 Lisburn Road), April 27, 7.30pm. (Organised by ‘Challenges’, chaired by William Crawley).

lNorth Down: Kings Church Bangor (Seacliff Road), April 28, 7pm.