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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Ulster Unionist Party confirms Robin Swann MLA and Bethany Ferris as candidates for North Antrim

The Ulster Unionist Party has confirmed Robin Swann MLA and Bethany Ferris as its candidates for the upcoming elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Announcing their ratification Cllr Keith Turner, Chair of the North Antrim Ulster Unionist Association, said:

"Having engaged with our association members and officers, I am delighted to confirm that the North Antrim Ulster Unionist Association has ratified Robin Swann MLA and Bethany Ferris as our candidates for this May's Assembly Elections.

"Robin and Bethany are an exceptional pair of candidates who will work together to deliver leadership and a genuine alternative to the people of North Antrim. On behalf of our Association, I am pleased to commend them to the electorate, and our activists across the constituency look forward to supporting their campaigns."

Reacting to this decision, Robin Swann MLA said:

"I am grateful that the North Antrim Ulster Unionist Association have ratified me as one of their candidates in the upcoming Assembly Election this evening. It has been my privilege to represent North Antrim in the Northern Ireland Assembly since 2011, and I look forward to contesting this election on behalf of the Ulster Unionist Party.

"During the past five years, I have worked tirelessly to support constituents across North Antrim as your MLA, and as Northern Ireland's Health Minister over the most challenging periods of the COVID-19 pandemic. No one could have anticipated the response that the people of Northern Ireland would have been called upon to make in our battle against COVID-19.

"I have ensured that clinical and scientific advice has guided Northern Ireland's response to the pandemic. In particular, I am eternally grateful to the health and social care staff across Northern Ireland, as without their incredible contribution, we could not have gotten through this crisis. Their willingness to go the extra mile over the past two years cannot be understated and must never be forgotten. However, I am forever conscious of the families that have had their lives devastated by COVID and the individuals who have lost their lives before their time.

"Since the collapse of the Assembly last month, my work to rebuild our health service has become infinitely more difficult. My priority of securing a three-year health budget to confront our long-term waiting lists and implement our cancer and mental health strategies have been frustrated by the absence of an Executive. Northern Ireland deserves far better than this.

"It has been the honour of my career to serve Northern Ireland and North Antrim in these roles during this mandate of the Assembly. I have been touched by those who have reached out to offer their support and encouragement during these testing times. I look forward to getting out to meet constituents across North Antrim in the coming weeks and sharing the Ulster Unionist Party's vision for a better Northern Ireland.”

Bethany Ferris added:

"It is a privilege to have been selected and ratified by the North Antrim Ulster Unionist Association to stand as a candidate in May's Assembly Election. I look forward to meeting constituents across North Antrim in the coming weeks to share my background and vision for Northern Ireland.

“I studied Theology at Union Theological College, and the ethos of pastoral care has heavily influenced my life as I have sought to support those in need. Upon leaving university, I worked for almost five years in the health and social care sector, where I assisted individuals with learning disabilities, autism, and mental ill-health. As a team leader during the pandemic, I supported our service users by helping them to understand and adjust to the significant changes in their lives.

“I have since taken up a role as an advocate for innocent victims of the Troubles within a leading organisation that supports individuals whose lives were impacted by terrorism. I have prioritised engagement with future generations to help them understand the impact terrorism had on Northern Ireland and help them understand the immense contributions of individuals who served with distinction in the Ulster Defence Regiment, Royal Ulster Constabulary, and the wider armed forces family.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to stand alongside Robin Swann MLA in this election. Robin has acted as a mentor for me throughout my time in the Ulster Unionist Party, encouraging me to take on increased responsibilities in the Ulster Young Unionists and put my name forward as a Party Officer. Over the last three years, I have worked hard within our Party to help more women and young people come forward as candidates, and I am pleased to join many of them on the ballot paper.

“I fully believe in the Ulster Unionist Party’s commitment to delivering a better Northern Ireland at this election. As a young woman, I’m eager to offer North Antrim a fresh voice for change in the Northern Ireland Assembly. I look forward to building on my work in the constituency and meeting voters over the coming weeks.”


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