Defector ‘made right decision’ to rejoin DUP

Cllr Raymond Farrell with party colleagues at the annual DUP Conference at La Mon House Hotel

Cllr Raymond Farrell with party colleagues at the annual DUP Conference at La Mon House Hotel

WITH more Ulster Unionists defecting to the DUP, two of the newest local party members say they have no regrets over their decision to jump ship earlier this year.

One year ago, Cllr Raymond Farrell sensationally quit the UUP citing party leader Mike Nesbitt’s stance on gay marriage as the key reason behind his decision. The Ballinamallard man had joined the party in 2010, replacing Tom Elliott on Fermanagh District Council.


His presence at the DUP’s spring conference in Limavady in March fuelled speculation that he would formally join the party with his membership being confirmed two months later.

Weeks later he was joined by former Ulster Unionist MLA Alastair Patterson. Mr Patterson lost his Assembly seat to his UUP running mate Rosemary Barton in May’s elections. He was only co-opted as the UUP MLA for Fermanagh and South Tyrone in January to replace Neil Somerville.

Speaking to the Herald at their first conference since formally joining the party, both men said they feel more “at home” in the DUP fold.

Mr Farrell said: “I’m very at home here and have been treated with the utmost respect. I feel and work as part of a team and that’s a lovely place to be. I’m very comfortable where I am and happy to be part of Arlene’s team.

“The attendance at this conference shows the appeal that Arlene has both personably and as a leader of unionism. We’ve really got to get beyond the day where we’re trying to tear strips off each other. Let’s look forward and not at negativity or to point score but move things forward for the benefit of our people.”

When asked to comment on the decision of his former party to go into opposition, Mr Farrell said: “In any democracy an opposition has a part to play.

It’s important that we have an opposition that is in a right way seeking to look at government policy and strategies. It should not be all about soundbites and trying to nitpick about issues without having any substance of their own.”


Mr Patterson added: “I definitely made the right choice and to be honest and truthful whatever decisions the UUP make are decisions for them.”

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