Northern Ireland news

Election poster featuring SDLP candidate from loyalist Ballysillan area torn down

SDLP candidate Heather Wilson.

A PROTESTANT SDLP candidate, whose posters were taken down from an area of Ballysillan close to where she grew up, said it will not stop her canvassing in the area.

Heather Wilson described as "ironic" accusations she was "stirring tensions" in the area of north Belfast where she is from.

Ms Wilson is standing for election for the city council's Castle ward in next month's local government elections.

A troll Twitter account had previously posted that putting SDLP election posters in "a unionist area" were an attempt "to run up tensions" adding "They will be removed".

Ms Wilson is the SDLP's first female candidate from a unionist background.

Speaking to The Irish News Ms Wilson said: "I was gutted to see that someone reacted so negatively to my posters so quickly, so much so they removed them.

"Democracy is all about choice. If you don't like my brand of politics, you don't need to vote for it.

"This election is about choosing the people who can build a better Belfast and deliver more for people who have been left behind. That’s my message and it's the SDLP’s mission. We don’t care what your background is, we're here to work for everyone.

"That means we'll report dodgy street lights, fix potholes, deliver literature and put posters up in all communities."

In the last few days Alliance, Sinn Féin and SDLP posters were removed in Tyrone. SDLP MLA Daniel McCrossan hit out at the "amateurs" for bragging on social media about collecting Alliance, Sinn Féin and SDLP posters in the area. He said he had made a complaint to police. Sinn Féin candidates have also made complaints about damage to posters.

Sinn Fein's Newtownabbey councillor Michael Goodman warned of "serious fines" for anyone interfering with election material while Mid and East Antrim Council Alliance Party candidate Noel Williams said he was "undeterred" after election posters were defaced in Carrickfergus.

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