Belfast Telegraph

UUP councillor Kennedy in parting shot as he joins DUP

By Noel McAdam

A senior Ulster Unionist councillor has taken a side-swipe at the party after defecting to the DUP.

Bill Kennedy argued it hardly matters who becomes leader of the UUP because it is in decline.

“I am leaving a party which unfortunately is on an unchanging downward course, regardless of its leader,” he said.

The veteran Ballymoney representative is the first to depart the UUP ranks since Tom Elliott’s dramatic resignation last week.

And, although there was traffic in the opposite direction recently, he is the latest in a spate of ‘signings’ for the DUP and is seen as quite a scalp for the party.

Mr Kennedy is well known in north Antrim region for his involvement in motorcycle racing and helped set up the Armoy road races. His brother Frank was one of the original ‘Armoy Armada’ that also comprised Joey and Jim Dunlop and Mervyn Robinson.

Mr Kennedy has also been heavily involved in racing and history exhibitions as a supporter of Ballymoney Museum.

First Minister Peter Robinson put the new trophy member on display at Stormont yesterday.

DUP leader Mr Robinson said: “Bill is a long established councillor in the Bushvale area and his skills will play an integral role in our team in Ballymoney Borough Council and the party as a whole.”

The shift of Mr Kennedy, a former Ballymoney Mayor and UUP assembly candidate, gives the DUP control with nine out of 16 seats on the council and leaves the UUP with just one councillor, the deputy Mayor Thomas McKeown.

“My goal has always been to secure the best outcomes for the people of the Ballymoney area. It is clear that only the DUP has the vision required,” Mr Kennedy said.

Just last week, however, the UUP welcomed the defection of Coleraine DUP Councillor William McCandless. But the net gain in recent years has been for the DUP, with the most recent previous recruit being Lisburn councillor Alan Carlisle.

Belfast Telegraph

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