“I want to congratulate Diane on being selected by the Party’s Executive to contest the forthcoming European election.
Diane has a proven track record in elections. Not only has she the highest first preference vote of any Councillor in Northern Ireland but in 2003 she stole a seat from Sinn Fein to become the first unionist elected by the West Belfast constituency in over 20 years. Diane won that seat by 87 votes. This too will be a closely contested battle between the DUP and Sinn Fein. I am confident that Diane will be successful in this challenge but every vote will count.”
The DUP’s European Candidate Cllr Diane Dodds said,
“This will be a battle unlike any before. As a party dedicated to the Union we must ensure that the voice of Ulster is a Unionist one – let us not be side tracked – the top priority for us all at this election must be to stop Sinn Fein topping the poll. The only Party that can give Unionism the victory is the DUP. A poll topping performance by Bairbre de Brun would add impetus to Sinn Fein’s long-term aim of destroying the Union.
Just imagine how Sinn Fein would milk the press coverage of a poll topping performance. Those who live in the West of the Province will remember the gloating over the so called “greening of the West” and as a Councillor in West Belfast I know the reality of people’s lives under the heel of Sinn Fein. We must not be distracted – at all times our priority must be the defeat of Sinn Fein. In achieving this we will demonstrate to Europe and the wider world that Unionism in Northern Ireland under the leadership of the DUP is strong, vibrant and victorious.
The DUP is winning the battle in Government. It is now Republicans who are on the back foot. Look at the record – we have binned the Irish Language Act and have delivered on our pledge to preserve academic selection. We will ensure that there is no Sinn Fein Minister of Justice and Policing. PPS 21 delivered by the DUP minister for the Environment will allow rural dwellers to continue to live within their communities. We continue to work with the Loyal Orders and have delivered direct financial benefits in respect of Orange Halls.
It is the DUP which is setting the agenda and driving Northern Ireland forward. This is our record and this will be my message to electorate.
Just as at home we must work to shape the agenda in Europe. Our farmers, our business community and our fishermen need a strong voice in Europe. They need a strong voice linked into a strong party. I will ensure that the people of Northern Ireland have a strong and coordinated advocate at Brussels, Westminster and Stormont.
My record in elections speaks for itself. Winning the first seat for unionism for 20 years in West Belfast sent a message of hope to unionists everywhere. And the loss of that seat – despite increasing the unionist vote – has only served to sharpen my determination to deliver another defeat to Sinn Fein in June. I’ve shown I’m up for a challenge no matter how difficult.”