The Northern Ireland public go to the polls on 5th May to elect a new Stormont assembly but do politicians actually listen or respond to the ordinary man and woman in the street? At this time when they’re knocking on doors and pleading for your vote, why should you vote for one candidate over the other? Do you really know what their stance is on issues that matter to you? Using a pseudonym, (I’ve no idea why either) I put on my beer hat the other week and contacted all 15 candidates standing in my constituency of East Antrim to see what they had to say.
Here’s my email –
Ahead of the upcoming election in May, I have a couple of questions which would go someway to deciding who gets my vote in East Antrim. I am interested to know if…
1. You would support small Northern Ireland breweries by introducing a new category to the licensing laws to allow them to ‘sell at source’ ie, sell beer directly to the public from the brewery … and to encourage global brewers such as Diageo (Guinness) and Tennent’s (who both own the vast majority of NI pubs) to offer a guest draught beer option to improve the small NI brewer’s access to the market.
2. You are in favour of changing the licensing laws at Easter to bring them into line with the rest of the UK.
Craft brewing has never been as popular as now in Northern Ireland but the industry can only survive with help from local government. At the moment this is not happening.
Time passed. Six replied, nine did not. Here are the replies, some more positive than others, but that’s for you to decide, as is where your valuable 1,2,3 etc vote goes on the ballot paper.
John Stewart – UUP
Oliver McMullan – SF
Alastair Ross – DUP
You raise a couple of interesting points. I would support a change to the licensing laws to try and help the trade. I would also be interested in helping the small Independant brewers. I have discovered a few locally recently and I for one would appreciate the products being made more available with more people getting the chance to sample some excellent products . Again thank you for the email and raising these issues and if I can help any further please get in touch.
David Hilditch – DUP
Gordon Lyons – DUP
(Updated response 25 April)
I can not say I am an expert in Licensing laws myself but I have been committed to learning more about them.
However I stress that incentives must be offered to workers i.e triple pay, Their rights must be protected and they shouldn’t feel obliged to work on Easter.
A concern that I have heard frequently is helping Draught beer access the market; this is a big concern that needs addressed; Diageo & Tennants won’t permit it, only their own brands. As a possible public representative, I will raise this concern & I will do my best to address this concern.
To help do as much as we can for small N.I breweries: myself, party colleagues & some local bar owners from East Antrim, would love to have the opportunity to meet the owners & workers to discuss what we can potentially do for small Ni breweries.
Conor Sheridan – Labour Alternative
Thanks to all who took the time to reply.
15 candidates are standing.
|East Antrim 2016 Assembly election|
|UUP||Roy Beggs Jr|
|SDLP||Margaret Anne McKillop|
|Sinn Féin||Oliver McMullan|
|Green (NI)||Dawn Patterson|
|Labour Alternative||Conor Sheridan|