Crawford bows out of politics

Councillor Ronnie Crawford
Councillor Ronnie Crawford

Longstanding Ulster Unionist, Councillor Ronnie Crawford is stepping down from Lisburn City Council.

Mr Crawford who represents Lisburn Town North says his resignation is due to health reasons.

He explained: “I had a very successful quadruple by-pass operation just over a year ago but recent problems render it inadvisable to take part in a stressful and prolonged election campaign.”

The Ulster Unionist party has agreed to appoint Alex Redpath as Mr Crawford’s replacement.

Mr Crawford said: “I am most grateful to all those who have given me the privilege of serving Town North over the past 25 years and am confident that my successor Alex Redpath will be a diligent representative.”

Mr Crawford, often a lone voice in the Council, reflected on recent disappointments. He said: “It has been a big disappointment to see the decline of the city over the last decade and the loss of the International Stadium at the Maze, the Basketball Centre of Excellence at Laurehill, the delay in progressing the Maze site and of course the scandalous handling of the John Lewis planning application all illustrate the lack of power and influence of our politicians on the Executive.”

He continued: “I believe the John Lewis store at Sprucefield is a dead duck. If the DUP as the largest party in the Executive with an MP, four MLA’s and fifteen councillors cannot deliver it then no one can.

“The powerful lobby of Belfast vested interests will not allow the store to be built outside Belfast and we must now concentrate our energies on the city centre. Unless there is a realistic re-evaluation of the business rates, the city will continue to decline.

“I was very fortunate to grow up in the town in its heyday and recall its former glory, but those days are gone forever.”

Commenting on Mr Crawford’s resignation Mr Redpath said: “The people of Lisburn and the Ulster Unionist Party owe Ronnie a huge debt of gratitude for his 25 years of selfless service. “