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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

TUV announce first Northern Ireland Assembly candidates

Left to right Ron McDowell, Jim Allister and John Ross.

TUV has announced that its party secretary Ron McDowell will be its North Belfast Assembly candidate and John Ross, a Falklands veteran with the Parachute Regiment, will fight East Belfast for the TUV. Ron McDowell said: “Married to Cathy and father to Catherine I am a North Belfast man born and bred. I would very much describe myself as working class and social welfare is an area in which I am passionate. “My political adventure began through my Orange Order membership at a time when parading rights were being eroded and the now detested Parades Commission was crushing community cohesion. Since then I have been active around most of the parading issues as they unfold in North Belfast. With my father I also built the heritage centre within Belfast Orange Hall to showcase and explain the narrative of Orangeism in North Belfast. I have sought to play my part to improve relationships in the area in an outreach programme which would help communities in their search for mutual respect. “I am a Christian and can be found driving a minibus around North Belfast collecting children for my church’s Good News Club, a church where I serve as treasurer, care taker and sometime speaker. My faith is important to me, my guide for life. I find that it can help moderate a modern world of fierce passions into a world of respect and freedom. “Working class loyalism long expressed the feeling that career politicians have no connection to the people. As a working class man from amongst the people I want to change that. I have worked in aerospace for 29 years and am an ardent trade unionist. In 2017 I brought the case for Shorts to Westminster, fighting for Belfast Jobs in the Boeing/Bombardier dispute. I played a small part in the successful outcome securing up to 2,500 jobs for the Belfast site. “Politically before joining TUV I served for a time as Vice Chair of North Belfast DUP. “They weren't listening then, they're not listening now.” The forthcoming Irish language Act, the Protocol and mismanagement in government are just three items from a catalogue of disasters which have left unionism rudderless, adrift with no-one at the helm. I have actively resisted the Protocol since its inception and ultimately believe people power will help secure its removal. “The time for TUV has come and I am very excited to represent the only party that can return a strong statesmanlike Unionist voice at the next election. The time for concessions is over. TUV are more than 'just one man', they are now a movement of the people and the people united can never be defeated. I am very pleased to be part of this movement and as the TUV candidate for North Belfast in 2022 I look forward to being a wheel in a cog for our revitalised unionist cause.”

John Ross, Ron McDowell and Jim Allister.

TUV East Belfast candidate John Ross said: “I joined the military, enlisting with the Parachute Regiment in August 1970 which fulfilled an ambition from a young age. I completed operational tours in Northern Ireland in the 1970s, 80s and 90s. In 1982 as a Platoon Sergeant in 3 Para I fought in the Falklands taking part in the attack on Mount Longdon where 23 members of my Battalion lost their lives and 50 were wounded. “Upon retirement from the military in 1993 I returned to Northern Ireland and settled in my wife’s native East Belfast where we have lived for the past 28 years. “I have been married to Margaret for 48 years. We have two children, two grandchildren and one great-grandchild. I enjoy sports and have been a season ticket holder at Linfield for many years as well as a campaign card holder for Northern Ireland as well as keeping fit by running regularly. “I have worked for DHL Express International for 26 years, managing the Northern Ireland operation for 25 years. In this role I gained valuable experience in leading and building a successful and profitable business. “Working with and building a team with resolve, commitment and belief has played a key role in my life since my early days in the Parachute Regiment. “Today I maintain close relationships with my military colleagues. I am heavily involved in campaigning for justice for military veterans, particularly those who served in Operation Banner. I was recently invited by the current Col Commandant of the Parachute Regiment, Lt General Sir John Lorimer, to be part of a delegation he lead to present the case to the Secretary of State for Defence at Whitehall. This was one of many engagements with political representatives over the past six years. “My decision to join TUV was driven by the fact that they represent by own political views. I firmly believe that building the future can no longer be stymied by a dysfunctional executive and inept Unionist representation. “If elected I pledge to be fearless in confronting, exposing and challenging those who wish to destroy Northern Ireland. I want to see a Northern Ireland with equal opportunity and benefits for all as an integral part of the U.K. with a truly democratic system of government.” Jim Allister added: “I am delighted to endorse Ron and John, two strong local candidates who will provide North and East Belfast with first class representation. This is the first of what will be many candidates announced across Northern Ireland as we build on the recent surge in membership in the party and give people across the Province the opportunity to vote TUV in the next Assembly election.”


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