Iain McAfee has claimed that massive changes are needed to the make-up of Ballymoney Borough Council before the town centre and other industry becomes totally non-existent.
Mr McAfee pointed to the number of businesses that have closed in recent weeks as well as the increasing claimant count average for the Borough as evidence that the town is not being promoted by its political representatives.
He claimed: “Ballymoney now has a claimant count that is above the Northern Ireland average. This doesn’t surprise me and unless there is a concerted effort to lobby for greater investment, this is only going to get worse. How some Councillors can have the audacity to argue they have been good for the Borough shows an ignorance for what is really happening and the problems people are facing.”
The local election candidate for the Town pointed out that the area is suffering more than others.
He added: “The Town electoral ward is made up of five Super Output Areas, Carnany, Fairhill, Glebe, Newhill and Route. In three of these claimant counts are significantly higher that both the Ballymoney and Northern Ireland averages. I therefore challenge anyone to show me and the people who live there what has been done to pro-actively support these areas by the Council. We hear all these massive declarations by local representatives that their political parties have the influence to bring investment to the Borough.
“We have locally based MLA’s yet when you take a look at the Enterprise Ministers website you will struggle to find any reference to Ballymoney but several press statements in relation to major investments into Ballymena. People feel Ballymoney is dying on its feet and I have no evidence that they are wrong.”
Mr McAfee continued: “Is it little wonder the communities have lost faith in their Council which is demonstrated by the low electoral turnout in the town compared to other wards and across Northern Ireland. Unless something changes internally then Ballymoney will continue to lag behind most other areas.”