Alliance to contest Carrick by-election

Lauren Gray (centre) with election agent Philip Burnside and Mid and East Antrim councillor Gerardine Mulvenna.
Lauren Gray (centre) with election agent Philip Burnside and Mid and East Antrim councillor Gerardine Mulvenna.

Carrick’s by-election is to be contested next month after a candidate was nominated by the Alliance Party.

Alliance has selected Lauren Gray to contest the Carrickfergus Castle by-election on October 18.

The Carrick woman said she was looking forward to engaging with local people over the next few weeks, adding it was an important opportunity for the people of Carrick to have their say on a number of local issues.

A former journalist who has worked across East Antrim, Lauren is a local Girl Guide leader and young mum, who said she was motivated to step forward by the Alliance Party’s message of diversity and inclusivity – the kind of society she envisioned for her daughter’s generation.

“The last few years have seen a number of scandals involving the DUP and Sinn Féin, as well as the ongoing political impasse caused and exacerbated by those same two parties. I want to let the people of Carrick Castle have their say and show them enough is enough.

“I come from a Carrickfergus family – my dad grew up here and my grandmother worked in the mills, so I know about the town’s glorious past. But I want to make sure it has a great future too. We’ve seen businesses and regeneration opportunities disappear, and services diverted elsewhere across the borough.

“Now I’m raising my family here and I’m committed to standing up and fighting for the town I believe Carrick can be, being a voice for openness and transparency while others get embroiled in political scandals.”

The Ulster Unionist Party, which has endorsed candidate John McDermott, had asked other parties “considering putting forward a candidate to pause and reconsider” saying that it was the late Jimmy Brown’s wish that John McDermott would replace him on the council for the rest of the current mandate” thus avoiding the “expense of a by-election”.

Mr. Brown passed away in August.