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Jim Allister's thorny pledge

By Colm Kelpie

Traditional Unionist Voice leader Jim Allister has vowed to be a thorn in the flesh of the DUP and Sinn Fein after securing his party's first Assembly seat.

The hardline unionist was elected without reaching the quota in North Antrim, after the SDLP's Declan O'Loan, the husband of former Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan, was eliminated.

Mr Allister, who quit the DUP in 2007 in opposition to powersharing with Sinn Fein, pledged to carry the torch for traditional unionism in Stormont.

“I look forward to being a very active thorn in the flesh of the DUP/Sinn Fein coalition,” Mr Allister said. “I look forward to being a scourge of IRA/Sinn Fein, and I look forward to being a rebuke to the wanton daily abuse and squalor of money in this province.”

Mr Allister polled the lowest of the six elected to the North Antrim constituency, securing 5,430 votes.

As he gave his speech following his win in the Seven Towers Leisure Centre in Ballymena, Sinn Fein members walked out of the count hall.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said the party's presence would have encouraged Mr Allister to speak for longer.

Belfast Telegraph

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