COMMUNITY activist and recent candidate at the local government elections, Andy Patton has revealed he is considering running for a berth at the next Assembly elections.
Mr Patton, who was a debutante at the May 2 ballot, ultimately failed to secure election however his comprehensive tally of 735 first preference votes – he believes – went some way to galvanising the community relations in Sion Mills.
This week, as the dust has finally settled from the North-wide vote, Mr Patton says he and his team are still considering a run at any forthcoming Assembly election.
Fresh talks aimed at breaking more than two years of political paralysis at Stormont began in recent days.
“We’re thinking about it,” Mr Patton remarked. “Myself and the team looked at it and we think there could be a base there for an independent candidate. But we’d have to sit down again and expand on that.
“After the election and after the success we had, I thought about it, definitely. Nothing is set in stone just yet but I thought, ‘would it be feasible?’ And the answer is ‘yes.’”
Mr Patton’s tally of 735 votes in the Derg district electoral area, combined with a strong polling from the SDLP’s Cara Hunter ultimately ousted long-standing Sinn Féin councillor
Maolíosa McHugh, who was later co-opted into the seat left vacant by outgoing Michaela Boyle.
“We ruffled feathers, there is no doubt about it,” Mr Patton continued.
“We went from a standing start to 735 votes – a massive jump.
“Imagine having an independent from this area at Stormont… it would be good craic!”