The Ulster Unionist Party has announced that Stephen McCarthy will replace Ben Kelso on Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, representing Threemilewater DEA.
Commenting on the co-option, Ulster Unionist Party Leader, Robin Swann MLA said: “Firstly I would thank Ben Kelso for his service to the party and his council area over the last three years. I wish him continued success in his career outside of politics.
“I am delighted that Stephen has taken up the vacancy. He is representative of a new generation of unionists and in the time I have known Stephen I have been struck by his hard work ethic and determination to get results for people. I know this is something he will continue in his new role as a councillor.”
Stephen McCarthy said: “First I would like to pay tribute to Ben for his service to the people of Threemilewater and Antrim and Newtownabbey over the last three years. I appreciate the help he has offered to me in this transition period and I wish him the very best of luck going forward with his career.
“I would also like to thank the party for choosing me to represent the people of Threemilewater. I am really looking forward to getting stuck in, working with my colleague Ald Fraser Agnew MBE, my other council colleagues and our three MLAs who cover the area to deliver for the people of Threemilewater and the wider borough.
“I have already been working for the people of Antrim and Newtownabbey for a number of years alongside Steve Aiken and Danny Kinahan and I have built great relationships with groups, organisations and constituents throughout the area. I’m looking forward to hitting the doors in the coming weeks to continue to deliver for the people of Threemilewater”.
Ben Kelso added: “I’m very grateful to my constituents for giving me the opportunity to represent them since the election in 2014 and I’m glad to have been able to help them with various issues over the last three years.
“Now is the right time for me to stand down, and I’m pleased that the party has found a capable replacement in Stephen.
“My resignation is effective today, however I remain available to provide whatever assistance I can, and allow for an easy transition to Stephen over the coming weeks.”
Welcoming Stephen to council, UUP Group Leader, Ald Mark Cosgrove said: “I am sure Stephen will prove to be a tremendous advocate for the people of Threemilewater.
“Through his constituency office work he is aware of the many challenges and I know he is looking forward to delivering on the ground. I am sure he will prove a tremendous asset to our council team.”