Belfast Telegraph

DUP councillor Adrian McQuillan 'deeply disappointed' over party suspension

Councillor Adrian McQuillan has been suspended by the DUP for six months
Councillor Adrian McQuillan has been suspended by the DUP for six months
Andrew Madden

By Andrew Madden

A DUP councillor has said he is "deeply disappointed" by the party's decision to suspend him just six weeks after his successful election.

Causeway Coast and Glens representative Adrian McQuillan has been suspended for six months by the party.

The former MLA said the decision was made following several issues in the run up to last month's local government elections, including his use of "unauthorised" election posters.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Councillor McQuillan said he is "deeply disappointed" by the decision and is seeking advice from his solicitor.

"There was a lot of stuff going on during the election, a whole saga, the issue about the election posters was part of it," he said.

"The issue was, I used my old MLA posters, which didn't have my running mate on them - but at the time I put them up I was the only candidate selected by the party.

"After my election I was told by the party that I would not be allowed to take up any positions on the council, so I knew something was coming."

Adrian McQuillan has been a DUP member since 1996 and held an Assembly seat in the East Londonderry constituency for ten years from 2007 to 2017.

He lost his Assembly seat in 2017 and last month was elected in the Bann ward of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, garnering 1,047 first preference votes.

Councillor McQuillan said the party carried out an investigation into events in the run up to the election, but "my side of the story" wasn't heard.

"They party carried out an investigation, but in my opinion they had already made up their mind to suspend me. It's just very disappointing it's ended up like this," he said.

"All I can say is I will continue to work for all my constituents, everyone who voted for me and all those who didn't. Anyone who comes to me for help, I will do all I can to help them. One party doesn't make a person, a person makes a party."

The Bann representative refused to say whether he is considering leaving the party and sitting as an independent councillor.

Councillor McQuillan previously courted controversy for urging residents of Garvagh, Co Londonderry, to "make sure all your outhouses are locked" after members of the Travelling community moved into the area.

His comments were labelled "racist", however he defended them stating he was simply "putting out a warning to my community".

The DUP said it does not comment on internal party matters.

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