A DUP councillor is facing disciplinary action from his party for the second time, it has emerged.
Causeway Coast and Glens representative Adrian McQuillan was interviewed by party officers before Christmas, the Coleraine Chronicle reports.
When contacted by the Belfast Telegraph, Mr McQuillan confirmed he was being investigated, but refused to comment any further and directed us to the party’s HQ.
The DUP did not respond to a request for comment.
It is believed two fellow DUP members made allegations regarding the Garvagh councillor which prompted the probe and Mr McQuillan could be facing a suspension — and not for the first time.
Back in 2019, Mr McQuillan — a former MLA — was suspended by the DUP just six weeks after successfully contesting the local government elections.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph at the time, Mr McQuillan said he was suspended following several issues which came in the run up to the elections, including using “unauthorised” election posters.
He said he was “deeply disappointed” by the suspension, adding: “There was a lot of stuff going on during the election, a whole saga, the issue about the election posters was part of it.
“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.”
Mr McQuillan alleged that “my side of the story” was not heard when the party investigated events in the run up to the election.
“The 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 DUP man has been a member of the party since 1996 and held an Assembly seat in East Londonderry for a decade from 2007 to 2017.
In 2017 he lost his Stormont seat, but was elected to the Bann electoral ward of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council in May 2019, receiving 1,047 first preference votes.
Mr McQullian was previously the subject of controversy when he was accused of racism in 2016 over a Facebook post. The post warned constituents to lock up their property after members of the Travelling community moved into the village of Garvagh.
“Look who has moved into Bridge St car park, Garvagh make sure all your out houses are locked,” he wrote alongside pictures of a group of Travellers.
“Police have been notified but are not interested, no chance there then, also council has been notified they will respond in the morning.”
A fellow councillor, the SDLP’s Gerry Mullan, labelled the comments racist, although Mr McQuillan said he was simply “putting out a warning to my community”.
Last year, Mr McQuillan was involved in a heated exchange in the council chamber about the Causeway International Airshow 2022, when a Sinn Fein councillor described it as being “like a military fest”. This led the DUP man to tell him he “needs to take his green glasses off”.