Ex-SDLP mayor: I would vote DUP

Danny O'Connor
Danny O'Connor

A ROMAN Catholic former SDLP MLA has said that he now intends to vote for the DUP – because he believes that Peter Robinson’s party is closer to Catholic teaching on issues such as gay marriage and abortion.

Former Larne Mayor and East Antrim MLA Danny O’Connor — who stood for election for the SDLP last year — said that even though he would vote for a united Ireland he would consider joining the DUP.

Mr Robinson has attempted to soften the DUP’s image and said that he wants to attract Catholic voters. Mr O’Connor’s comments show that at least some Catholics may vote DUP after the SDLP backed gay marriage.

The former UDR man, who has been targeted by loyalist paramilitaries in the past, told the Belfast Telegraph: “First and foremost I am a Roman Catholic — that guides me — and I believe DUP policies are more in keeping with Catholic teaching than the nationalist parties.

“As things currently stand, the only party that I would feel comfortable about supporting on religious grounds would be the DUP.

“If some other party came forward that was in line with Catholic teaching, I would consider that. The unionist bit doesn’t worry me.”

He added: “I consider myself an Irishman, I carry an Irish passport and I would vote for a united Ireland in a referendum but I suppose I am open to persuasion. Everything else is subservient to being a Catholic.”