Belfast Telegraph

Former UUP MP Kinahan returning to politics for council elections - 'It's not going backwards, it's carrying on'

By Gareth Cross

Former UUP MP Danny Kinahan has announced he will contest next year's council elections in Antrim and Newtownabbey.

Having lost his South Antrim seat to the DUP's Paul Girvan in the 2017 General Election Mr Kinahan admitted that he missed the "cut and thrust" of electoral politics and was hoping to make a return.

Since departing the political arena Mr Kinahan has set up his own public affairs company and worked lobbying in Westminster, he said the lure of helping people on the ground had persuaded him to run again.

Before entering politics Mr Kinahan spent eight years in the army and worked for Christie's Auction House.

He is also a cousin of 'Lady in Red' singer Chris de Burgh.

Mr Kinahan rejected the idea that returning to run for council after being both an MLA and MP would be a step-down saying it was "not going backwards, it's carrying on".

He will run in the Ballyclare District Electoral Area (DEA).

"I was a councillor in Antrim a long time ago and I'm keen to get back in. I don't like to be uninvolved and I'm thrilled that there's a chance for me to have a go," Mr Kinahan.

"My home is in Templepatrick and I was an Antrim councillor, I don't want them to think I've given them up for Ballyclare, but equally I don't want Ballyclare to think they are second class either.

"I'm keen to get back into the cut and thrust and focus on Ballyclare issues. I've been doing charity work in the area so I certainly haven't gone away."

The former MP said there were a number of issues locally that needed addressing.

"There are loads of issues around planning, the Housing Executive and Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and it's an area I've represented before," Mr Kinahan said.

"What I really enjoy is helping people on the ground. I started in council and the electorate has been good to me, I want the party to thrive.

"I think that everything is going wrong at the moment, and it needs all hands on deck."

Mr Kinahan said that local councils had taken on a renewed importance since the collapse of Stormont.

"Not having Stormont is a disgrace, it's really hard on my colleagues who want to be there and can't because the two big parties won't do it," the former South Antrim MLA said.

"I'm keen to help my colleagues. I've had a horrible year and a lovely year. It's been lovely to have a break after going full speed for 14 years, but at the same time it has been great to see my family and do some work around the house and the farm.

"There are two places to make a difference, one is locally and the other is to keep meeting people at Westminster and getting them to realise there are other parties in Northern Ireland and I will keep doing both."

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