Belfast Telegraph

A dog bite, a leaflet eaten - the trials of Alliance canvassers

By Aaron Tinney

The husband of Alliance party leader Naomi Long was rushed to casualty after being bitten by a dog during election canvassing.

He wasn't the only party supporter to meet with resistance at the weekend.

One potential voter was so disgusted with the Alliance supporter who door-stepped him that he screwed up and ate a copy of the party's literature in front of the canvasser.

Dentist Michael Long went to A&E on Saturday when a husky hound sank its fangs into his left hand.

The Alliance councillor wasn't too badly injured - he managed to take a selfie of his bloodied digits and post a message online with the snap that read: "Well it was bound to happen. After 25 years of knocking doors, have finally got bitten by a dog out canvassing.

"Off to casualty - let's hope it is worth it!"

Mr Long was treated at the Ulster Hospital with a tetanus shot, antibiotics and bandages.

He also posted a photo of his bandaged hand with the note: "After a quick trip to the Ulster for a tetanus shot and antibiotics, back out on the doors. #changedirection #onlyasuperficialwound."

It appears door-steppers for Alliance are used to negativity, as when Mr Long rang the party headquarters to tell them he had been bitten, the party worker he spoke to thought a member of the public had taken a chunk out of his skin.

His wife posted on Facebook: "Michael rings the office: 'Have to go to hospital. I've been bitten while delivering leaflets'.

"Sharon: 'No way! Who by?'"

Mrs Long took the opportunity on social media to call her husband "mad" and her "trooper" for going back on the streets and finishing handing out leaflets after his flesh wound was bandaged.

One wit commented on Mr Long's Facebook page about the incident: "A good unionist dog who gave a clear message to an unwanted visit from a left wing bleeding heart liberal."

The same day as the dentist was bitten, another Alliance supporter was met with protest - when a member of the public ate a copy of Alliance newsletter the Clarion in frustration at being approached by one of the party's canvassers.

Mrs Long posted yesterday on Facebook about the incident: "After the biting-related events, thought you might appreciate this.

"Volunteers delivering leaflets often meet the odd person who will politely hand the leaflet back.

"Occasionally, someone will dramatically rip it up to make a point. On one memorable occasion a 'gentleman' set fire to his leaflet singeing his fingers in the process.

"However, the most extreme event this weekend was when a gent, having received his copy of the East Belfast Clarion, proceeded to eat the leaflet in full view of the volunteer. I know we want people to read and inwardly digest our message, but it is a figure of speech, people."

Her comments came as bookies narrowed the odds on Mrs Long taking back the East Belfast seat she won from former First Minister Peter Robinson in 2010, then lost in 2015.

Paddy Power shorted the price for the Alliance head to win to 8/13. It's compared to the 6/5 odds for incumbent DUP MP Gavin Robinson, who won the seat from Mrs Long on the strength of a unionist pact.

Childhood sweethearts the Longs are used to resistance - their east Belfast home has bulletproof glass and security cameras after Naomi received a string of paramilitary death threats. Violence erupted in 2012 after Alliance voted in favour of restricting the flying of the Union flag at Belfast City Hall to 17 days a year.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph