THE leader of Northern Ireland’s newest political party has spoken of his party’s potential impact on County Fermanagh, following the high profile launch of the party last week. Basil McCrea, formerly of the UUP, has formed pro-union party NI21, along with John McCallister as his deputy.
Speaking to the Fermanagh Herald this week, Mr McCrea spoke of Fermanagh and South Tyrone as being a ‘highly contested space’.
He said that there is ‘perhaps a different argument that has to be put forward to people’ with regards to promoting his party.
“Certainly, we have had people from Fermanagh who say they support what we do,” he explained
“Like all of these things, you have to take things steadily and build an infrastructure,” he said.
“And certainly one of the things I’ll be doing is coming down to actually have an ‘on the soapbox’ down in Fermanagh to talk to the local activists.”
While he didn’t confirm that members of the new party would run for election in the county, he said: ‘It’s just a question of how much support there is’.
“Our role as a political party is to fight elections and certainly we will be standing somebody in the European elections. There will also be some council seats that we’ll be contesting throughout Northern Ireland.
“Where we’ve got good candidates and a reasonable chance of getting elected, then we will be fielding people and it really comes down to the strength and the uptake of the candidates.”
Basil continued noting that there are different priorities for different parts of Northern Ireland.
“Any party that really wants to make a meaningful contribution to the big picture of Northern Ireland needs to be sure that it is at least aware of the challenges and issues that are affecting Fermanagh.
“It’s certainly important to us that people in Fermanagh are taken on board.
“And I suppose it would be the case that the Fermanagh elections are more polarised than perhaps the elections in other parts of the country.”
He added: “And what we have to be doing is explaining to people that there are other alternatives, other ways of going forward, and we’re looking for people who are looking to build a better future.”
“We think we will be adding to the electorate and that must be a good thing.”
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