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Alliance announces full-slate of candidates for Ballymena area in May's local elections

Alliance Party candidates for Ballymena are (L-R) Chelsea Harwood (Braid), itting councillor John Hyland (Ballymena) and Jack Gibson (Bannside).
Alliance party candidates for Ballymena are (L-R) Chelsea Harwood (Braid), itting councillor John Hyland (Ballymena) and Jack Gibson (Bannside).

The local Alliance party association has announced a team of three candidates, all in their early 30s to contest the upcoming Mid and East Antrim Borough Council Elections in the electoral districts in and around Ballymena.

Sitting councillor John Hyland, who represents the Ballymena DEA, is joined by two new candidates, Jack Gibson and Chelsea Harwood, who are contesting the Bannside and Braid DEAs respectively. They are hoping to build upon the party's successes in both the North Antrim constituency and across the region as a whole last May, by securing three seats in the greater Ballymena area.

Cllr Hyland is a Liverpool native, who was formerly chair of Liverpool Pride and co-founder of the LCR Pride Foundation.

Since moving to Ballymena, he's worked tirelessly to make a positive difference to his new home. He was co-opted to council in May 2022 and since then has been a passionate advocate for his constituents.

Braid candidate Chelsea Harwood is a qualified accounts technician with over 5 years of experience working in the charitable sector. She is active in local and regional women's rugby and is a director and founding member of Carrick Greengrocers, a community-owned greengrocers.

Bannside candidate Jack Gibson is a Ballymena native who lives in Gracehill with his wife and 2 year-old daughter and is an active member of Ballymena Cricket Club. A political communications professional, Jack has worked for several major firms and a legal charity in Belfast.

Commenting on the upcoming election, Ballymena candidate Cllr John Hyland said:

"I've been passionate about making a difference in Northern Ireland since I made it my home. I gained an appreciation for the natural beauty of the place and the warmth of its people. It's been a privilege to work closely with the Ballymena community since I moved here and I look forward to deepening my connection with this fantastic town and its people if I'm returned to Council in May."

Braid candidate Chelsea Harwood commented: "As someone from a rural background, with a deep understanding of the unique issues facing those in rural areas of Northern Ireland, I'm thrilled to have been selected to contest the Braid DEA seat. If elected, I'll bring compassion and enormous energy to the task of representing the people of Braid DEA on Council."

Bannside candidate Jack Gibson said:

"I'm delighted to have been selected by the party to contest this election and to have a very credible chance to win a seat in Bannside for the first time in Alliance's history. As someone with a young family, I'm passionate about helping my area and its people succeed, to ensure that it remains a place that people can be proud to live in."


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