Enniskillen by-election winner Arlene Foster has said that the community in Fermanagh have responded to the positive platform of unionist unity put forward by the DUP in the recent election campaign. Mrs Foster however questioned why a unionist seat was ever put in danger through the forcing of an election by the UUP. Speaking today Mrs Foster said,
“The result of this by-election has been a vindication of the DUP’s position and of our campaign locally. We know that the unionist community, particularly in areas west of the Bann want to see unionism strengthened and that is why the core of our campaign was to ensure that unionist representation in Fermanagh was not diminished, as well as highlighting the many important issues which are currently affecting peoples lives.
This is a good result for unionism as a whole in Fermanagh. The turnout has shown that the community responded to our call that every vote was vital. The DUP also stressed early in the campaign the need for a high level of transfers within the unionist family and I am pleased that this was also heeded. I believe that this result can be a template for the future in elections across the Province.
Ideally this seat would have been filled through a co-option, something which has already happened twice during this Council term in Fermanagh including the co-option of a Sinn Fein Councillor. However having raised no objections to those appointments, the Ulster Unionist Party saw fit to block to co-option of a DUP nominee, putting the seat in danger and costing the ratepayers of Fermanagh £20,000 in the process. Having objected to the co-option of a DUP nominee on the grounds that he was too young, the UUP then questioned whether someone could be a good wife and mother as well as fulfilling the same political duties carried out by men.
I am glad that we were not distracted from our campaign by these kind of attacks, and that the people of Enniskillen were also able to see through them. I have always been committed to delivering for the people at whatever level I have the privilege to represent them. My energies will continue to be dedicated to that cause and to ensure that the people of Enniskillen and the entire County of Fermanagh can have the best possible services at the lowest cost to the ratepayer.”