Northern Ireland news

Two councillors who quit DUP under Edwin Poots' leadership rejoin

Councillors Glyn Hanna and Kathryn Owen quit the DUP in June under Edwin Poots' leadership
Marie Louise McConville

Two councillors who quit the DUP under Edwin Poots' leadership have rejoined.

Kathryn Owen and Glyn Hanna, who both sit on Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, quit the party in June after making allegations of bullying and sexism in the party.

At the time, Ms Owen said the handling of the party's former leader, Arlene Foster's departure had been a "disgrace".

Both Ms Owen and Mr Hanna continued to sit on Newry, Mourne and Down District Council as independent representatives.

However, it has now been revealed that both have returned to the DUP under the leadership of Jeffrey Donaldson.

Ms Owen, who was asked to join the UUP over the summer, said she had returned to the DUP because she believes "in Jeffrey Donaldson’s brand of unionism and the direction in which he wants to take Northern Ireland.

"His is a broad church approach for the party as opposed to occupying narrow political ground," she said.

"I feel the DUP is very much back on track.

"Nobody can deny that the DUP has had a bumpy ride recently, but I look forward to the challenges ahead and helping rebuild the party as one that is appealing to the broad pro-Union community".

The Down councillor added that she has known Mr Donaldson "for over 15 years and have absolute faith in his vision and leadership skills".

Mr Hanna said he was looking forward to "playing a positive and constructive role" in the party.

"There are still issues I want to see resolved within the party in South Down but I believe we now have a roadmap to make progress," he said.

"I am happy that, under the new leadership, issues within the DUP I had problems with are being confronted and resolved".

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