THE hardline Traditonal Unionist Voice party has confirmed Lisbellaw farmer Donald Crawford will replace Alex Elliott as the party’s Assembly election candidate for Fermanagh and South Tyrone.
The decision comes after the withdrawal of Mr Elliott from the race for what the party describes as ‘personal reasons’.
Mr Elliott said: “I am unable to contest the upcoming election but I am delighted that the party has been able to find a candidate of Donald’s calibre to fill the gap and look forward to joining him on the campaign trail. He is a man of great principle and integrity and will make a superb representative for Fermanagh and South Tyrone in Stormont.”
Donald Crawford is no stranger to local politics and in 2014 stood unsuccessfully for the TUV in the elections for the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council. Mr Crawford is married to Evelyn for 23 years and has a 20 year old son. He is a member of the three Loyal Orders, holding the office of Deputy Master in his own lodge, Derryclavin 729 and Past President of the Apprentice Boys of Derry, Brookeborough Mitchelbourne Club. He is also a member of RPB 392 Lisbellaw.
Mr Crawford served for 25 years as a part-time soldier in the UDR and the RIR and is currently vice-chairman of the Lisbellaw Veterans Group which is campaigning for the full implementation of the Military Covenant in Northern Ireland.
In his spare time the candidate’s interests include clay pigeon shooting, fishing and marching bands.
Speaking about his decision to contest the election Mr Crawford referred to a recent graphic novel published about former Fermanagh and South Tyrone MP Bobby Sands.
“The recent awarding of over £5,000 in public money to finance a graphic novel about Bobby Sands is a reminder of what the new Northern Ireland is really like under Stormont. Propagandists for the process will claim that we want to build a shared and united society yet here we have taxpayers’ money going to fund a publication glorifying the life of someone who split the people of Fermanagh and South Tyrone right down the middle and whose election still causes hurt to this day.”
He continued: “I also want to see a better deal for Fermanagh and South Tyrone. The disproportionate focus of Invest NI on Belfast and Londonderry has meant that Fermanagh and South Tyrone has been left behind when it comes to job creation. I will fight to change that. Additionally, with TUV’s clear stand on the EU you know that we will end the open borders policy by liberating us from Brussels and freeing jobs up for local people.”
Mr Crawford added that education was also a huge issue he would tackle if elected.
“The closure of the Collegiate Grammar in Enniskillen is just the latest attack on the controlled sector. TUV will make the defence of controlled schools in the West of the Province a top priority. I pledge to be a voice which is fearless and unapologetic when it comes to standing up for the Unionist and Protestant community.”
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Posted: 6:00 pm March 18, 2016