BALLYMONEY Councillor Bill Kennedy, who quit the Ulster Unionist party to re-join the DUP last week, has claimed that remaining with the Unionists amounted to a “lost cause.”
Speaking to the Times this week, Cllr. Kennedy said he returned to the ranks of the DUP because the “Unionist party was going nowhere fast.”
He said: “The way the party is going isn’t good. I had high hopes when I joined them that they could revive themselves and make an impact in politics in Northern Ireland.
“But there has been one disaster after the other from within the party and even some of their own membership admitted that I did the right thing.
“It doesn’t matter who is going to be leader, I feel the party has gone so far down that it will be extremely difficult to get them back into favour with the electorate. I do not want to see them fold, but it will be very hard for them to survive. I think they are unleadable and why would I stay in a party that is spiralling out of control and probably out of existence.”
Cllr. Kennedy has come in for some criticism from local Unionist party members.
His move was said to have come as both a shock and surprise to the Unionist fraternity and now some members have spoken out against the man who carried the flag for them along with Robin Swann at the Assembly elections last year.
Cllr. Kennedy failed to get elected, but the fact that he was chosen in the first place was an indication of his standing. Unionists are now feeling betrayed and the people spoken to by the Times say it’s ‘good riddance’ to someone who, they claim, didn’t have his heart and soul in the party in the first place.
One local Unionist said: “I never wanted him in the first place. He was de-selected by the DUP for the council elections and he has gone on record saying he would never be back with them. What happened to make him change his mind, I would like to know.
“If he informed the party, I and many others knew nothing about it. The way he was paraded by senior members of his own party suggested he had this planned his move for sometime.”
Cllr. Kennedy denied that he had been underhand in the way he left the party.
“I handed my resignation in to headquarters. Everything was done above board and I totally reject any allegation that I did otherwise. If local members didn’t know about it, it’s their problem.
“Maybe, this reflects the lack of communication within their ranks. I did try to get things going and organise meetings, but was always passed from one to another. It good to the stage where I virtually gave up,” he said.