SDLP politician Joe Boyle not contesting next year’s election

SDLP politician Joe Boyle not contesting next year’s election

13 October 2021

ARDS and North Down councillor Joe Boyle has announced that he will not be contesting a seat in the Strangford constituency at next year’s Assembly election.

The Portaferry SDLP stalwart is stepping away from contesting what would be his sixth Assembly election campaign and plans to concentrate on his councillor role.

His decision marks the end of an era having contested every election for his party in Strangford for the past 20 years, apart from 2010 when current South Belfast MP Claire Hanna ran for the party.

Cllr Boyle has served as a party activist, candidate and representative since 2001 for the local council, Assembly and Westminster elections.

“I have decided not to contest the forthcoming Assembly election which would have been my sixth,” he said.

“It’s due to a combination of both business and personal reasons which simply do not afford me the time required to run a meaningful campaign and equally perform all other aspects, including my business interests, along with my role as an extremely busy councillor.”

Cllr Boyle said he intends to continue with representing the people of the Ards peninsula and wider Ards and North Down Borough.

He spent 15 years on the legacy Ards Council before elected to Ards and North Down Borough. 

“In some ways, working as an elected representative in local government is more helpful and pleasing to those whom we represent and deliver for, from within an ongoing functioning council than from a more often than not increasingly fragile and non-delivering, non-functioning Assembly,” Cllr Boyle continued.

He said that as the local authority’s only SDLP representative, constituents have indicated that they would prefer to see him remain in council “delivering on their needs and requests”.

Cllr Boyle concluded: “I have no doubt that the party will field a more than capable candidate to represent the SDLP in the forthcoming Assembly elections and they can count on my full support.

“I would like to place on record my thanks and appreciation to all those constituents who voted for me in the past from within the Strangford constituency and to my faithful election teams who have assisted me. I would appeal to those voters to continue voting for the SDLP in future elections.”