The Ulster Unionist Party has selected Danny Kinahan MLA as its South Antrim candidate for next year’s general election.
The UUP’s South Antrim Association is hoping that Mr Kinahan can win back the seat formerly held by Clifford Forsythe and David Burnside from the DUP’s William McCrea.
“I am both humbled and privileged to have been given the honour of being nominated by the South Antrim Association as their candidate for the forthcoming Westminster elections. I am exceptionally proud of my country and where I come from,” Mr Kinahan said.
“Indeed South Antrim has much to be proud of, whether it is its people or its industry and work ethic. I can guarantee one thing to the people of South Antrim. If I am elected as the MP, you will not find me wanting in promoting all that is good about the area around Westminster, where I will be doing all I can to attract more investment to this area.
“Top priority for all of us should be encouraging the creation of jobs, providing a top class education system for our children and building a health service which is properly resourced to care for the sick and vulnerable.
“We need to be focussed on getting solutions to problems and aiming to build an economy which becomes less reliant on government. We have the people, the ingenuity and the educational ability to do that. It is up to politicians and government to create the conditions within which that can happen.”
In the 2010 general election, Sir Reg Empey stood for the UUP in South Antrim under the ‘Ulster Conservatives and Unionists - New Force’ banner, losing out to the DUP’s William McCrea by around 1,200 votes. But Mr Kinahan believes that he can do better, and is confident that he can win back the seat for his party.
He continued: “We need to promote Northern Ireland in London and farther afield as a place to do business, and promote a positive image of a place which is welcoming to all. We need to show that the naysayers of Sinn Fein don`t represent the views of the vast majority of the people of this country. Much to the displeasure of Sinn Fein, they are farther away from their goal of a united Ireland than ever and this was backed up by the 2011 census. So instead of concentrating on something that’s not going to happen, they should focus on something that actually is achievable - making things better for all the people of Northern Ireland.
“I believe passionately that we as unionists must present a view of unionism which is outward looking and positive and to make the case for the Union. I represent a Union which is for everyone.”
Congratulating Mr Kinahan on his selection, UUP leader Mike Nesbitt commented: “Danny is a hard working representative who cares deeply about his constituents and is dedicated to doing what’s right for South Antrim and promoting all that is best about Northern Ireland. Danny has a record of service to his country and his community, both as a soldier and a public representative and I know that he would be an excellent Member of Parliament.”