The preliminary steps for choosing candidates for next year’s ‘super-council’ elections have been taken by the Ulster Unionist Party, who have nominated two in each of the three local wards – Portadown, Craigavon and Lurgan.
In Portadown, which stretches out to Loughgall, the choices are Alderman Arnold Hatch and Mrs Olive Whitten. Mr Hatch, a former Mayor of Craigavon, entered the council when he won a by-election in 1978. He is President of the NI Local Government Association.
Mrs Whitten is a former member of Armagh City and District Council, having been a representative for the Orchard Ward. She received the MBE for her services to the Orange Order.
In Craigavon, the choices are ‘as you were’ with Craigavon council members Kenneth Twyble and Ronnie Harkness the nominees. Both are from the moderate side of the UUP, and have a background in education. Mr Twyble was deputy head of Killicomaine JHS and Mr Harkness was a primary school principal.
Lurgan has nominated Craigavon Deputy Mayor Colin McCusker, who was co-opted to the council in 2011. The second nominee is Aaron Carson, a student of politics at Queen’s University.
The names of all six have been submitted for ratification to the Central Party, before the annual UUP meeting on October 18.
Craigavon will be joining with Banbridge and Armagh councils to form the local administration, and the shadow election are next May in anticipation of the new council in 2015.