Letter in response to ‘Concerned Ratepayer’: McAfee

SIR - Last week your paper received a letter from ‘Concerned Ratepayer’. I have to say that the comments regarding the number of first preference votes I received and whether that is more important than getting over the quota, sounds suspiciously like comments made to me on the night of the election count on 9th May by another candidate.

I generally agree with the writer’s sentiments regarding the coverage of my situation although I would like to hope ‘Concerned Ratepayer’ has more pressing issues to concern themselves with. I acknowledge that it has probably been drawn out too much.

I should point out that the press have the right to report local issues as they see fit. In the same way local people should always have the freedom to express their views on any issue that is relevant to them.

With regards my importance being over-rated, have I said I am any better than anyone else? No I haven’t. I wanted to represent that section of the community who have disengaged from local politics as their voice wasn’t being heard. As stated before ‘There is definitely a constituency of voters out there who want change’.

Since the eligibility of my election has been questioned I have received nothing less than genuine support from local people. I have thanked them before and I thank them again. While it is heartening to receive such great backing and although I have no right to, I now publicly ask those such as Robert Anderson, Peter Thompson and others who have wrote letters of support regarding myself or my situation, to now stop.

Having said this, there is no way I would ask these people or anyone else to cease questioning and scrutinising what they see as being wrong in this town, in fact I encourage it. In recent weeks concerns such as the embarrassing state of the Riverside Park have come to the fore and have highlighted the failure of the Council to address many issues in this town, many of which I raised during the election and subsequently in my letter to the councillors.

Some people might want these letters and reports to also stop but they won’t. If some people can not take the heat then they should seriously reconsider their position. I suspect that only when the people of this town are listened to and their concerns addressed will the headlines change.

Yours Iain McAfee