New UUP politician: Merger with DUP inevitable

A former DUP politician who has now enlisted in the UUP says that the day will come when the parties will merge.

Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 7:00 am
Ryan McCready in circa 2011

Derry City and Strabane District councillor Ryan McCready was asked about the matter by the News Letter, following yesterday’s announcement that he has switched parties.

In addition, alderman McCready also set out his beliefs on abortion and other social and moral matters – demonstrating that his views are significantly more liberal than many of his erstwhile DUP colleagues.

He quit the DUP in mid-June, citing the “very disgraceful” manner in which Arlene Foster was deposed as among his reasons for quitting.

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That left him as an independent councillor for the Faughan ward, and then yesterday he revealed that he has entered the Ulster Unionist fold.

In May, just before taking over as the UUP’s new liberal-leaning leader, Doug Beattie had been emphatic on this point, saying: “There will not be one unionist party, that is fact. It does not help unionism for the DUP and the UUP to come together.”

Asked his view about the prospects of a united unionist party, alderman McCready said: “I think yes, I do think it’s inevitable in the future.

“The issue is, you’re dealing with people who have a lot of history... also we have to take into account egos, on all counts.

“Is it really feasible for that to happen overnight? It’s highly unlikely.

“But in the long term, our next generation is pushing through which is more moderate, tolerant, open-minded.

“I’d really like to see certainly within my lifetime for there to be a really strong, broad unionist party, where they were just one.

“The main primary objective is the Union, and the people therein, irrespective of their religion, denomination or anything else that can separate people.

“I’ve no problem working with anyone from any ilk or background.

“I do think the major catalyst in order for it to happen is [a] big drive for Irish unity, a border poll.

“When it gets to that point, the criteria is met, and if a border poll is called, every single unionist needs to go out and vote for the Union.”

Alderman McCready, 35, was one of a number of disgruntled members who left the DUP last month, including councillors Kathryn Owen and Glyn Hanna, and North Down MLA Alex Easton.

A former Royal Irish Regiment soldier, he was presented with the accolade of “Most Outstanding Soldier” in 2011 by Prince William. He was elected to council in 2019.

On abortion, the ex-DUP man said: “I value life. I’ve had circumstances in my family where we’ve lost an unborn child. The current legislation pushed through from Westminster is extreme – it’s just too wide.”

Nevertheless he said “there is space” for legislating for cases such as incest and rape, and fatal foetal anomaly.

He also said: “I’m entirely open and tolerant to anyone who has a different sexual orientation or how they gender themselves.”

And on the idea of an Irish act, he said that fundamentally “I’ve nothing to fear from the Irish language or any other language”, but also that SF has “weaponised” it for its own ends.

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Alistair Bushe