Ulster Unionist Party Assembly Candidate for Mid-Ulster, Sandra Overend, has urged voters to look beyond the headlines of DUP spin on the issue of vote transfer, and credits the electorate with the intelligence to decide for themselves which candidates will work together to make Northern Ireland work, and in turn strengthen our position in the United Kingdom.
Mrs Overend said,
“First and foremost, this election is not about the border. It is, however, about the arrogance, incompetence, and alleged corruption of the DUP/Sinn Fein coalition government, embodied in the RHI shambles. Since the election has been called both Executive parties have done all they can to deflect away from their failure. The headline over Mike Nesbitt’s personal opinion on how he intends to transfer his own vote is misleading. He did not urge Ulster Unionists to vote, as he will.
“The DUP are spinning this as a red herring in an attempt to deflect from the huge RHI debacle that is dominating this election campaign. However, the electorate must keep their focus on the main issue, and that is that the DUP/Sinn Fein Executive tried to sweep the RHI £85,000 cost to Northern Ireland taxpayer per day under the carpet, hoping that a blind eye would be turned to their creative accounting, without checks and accountability.
“Let us be honest and realistic. Sinn Fein and DUP prefer to push the people of Northern Ireland to the extremes and they use that to keep themselves in power. Over the last ten years, we have witnessed the DUP kowtowing to Sinn Fein within Stormont Castle, and we are clear, that in a power sharing arrangement, that out of the two nationalist/republican parties that we would rather be a partner with the SDLP than with Sinn Fein.
“The Ulster Unionist Party is clear that people should vote for Ulster Unionist candidates first. If I am asked to advise on vote transfers, which does not happen very often, then I would suggest that they transfer to candidates that they trust to deliver better government for Northern Ireland, which in turn will strengthen our position in the Union. Sliding from one political crisis to another, while holding a begging bowl to London, does nothing for our position in the Union. We need a stable, positive, working and accountable devolved government.
“I credit the voters of Mid Ulster to decide who they think is best placed to deliver on the sort of government we so desperately need. In this constituency, which is predominately nationalist, I fully support unionist voters who wish to transfer to other pro-union parties so that there is good balance of representation in the Assembly.
“Notwithstanding the huge issues of bad governance and incompetence, laid bare in the recent scandals of RHI, NAMA and Red Sky, at this election, the fifth seat in Mid Ulster will be won by either a unionist or by the third Sinn Fein candidate. I will certainly be transferring my vote to other pro-union candidates to block Sinn Fein. I will be voting for a real alternative that will bring positive change, good governance; while having confidence in my identity and respect for others. Your vote is your choice; just make sure you use it.”