Disappointment in town over loss of MLA

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Banbridge UUP representative Jo-Anne Dobson has stayed tight-lipped over her political future after failing to re-gain her seat in the Assembly following a ‘brutal election’.

Despite securing more than 5,100 first preferences - 10 per cent of the vote - she didn’t attract enough transfers in order to retain her seat.

Mrs Dobson, a member of the assembly since 2011- has made no public statements but took to social media to express her disappointment at Friday’s result. She posted: “They said this election would be brutal, and indeed it was! Thank you to everyone who supported me and to my wonderful team for your love, loyalty and laughs! I will be taking time with my family to focus on life’s priorities.”

The post has received over 1,000 likes, while another post showing Mrs Dobson with her mother and sister with the caption “My family - my priority” has also been liked over 1,000 times.

A number of local people used social media to voice their disappointment at losing an MLA who’s Banbridge born and bred, and to wish her well for the future.

Her Election Agent Andrew Cromie said the local community had been robbed of one of the hardest working MLAs, he said: “Jo-Anne has worked immensely hard to champion causes which cry in the wilderness for attention when political posturing takes to centre stage.

“In losing her seat in Upper Bann our community has been robbed of a good and decent public servant and a dedicated team always committed to hard work and positive delivery.

“Jo-Anne has made many sacrifices personally and in her political career to allow others to benefit and to go forward. I hope that those who have benefited from this selfless attitude to life recognise that today.

“I have to say that the last few weeks has been no party – it has been a hard campaign, brutal in many ways, with an avoidable outcome brought about by arrogance and a total lack of leadership.

“When a politician whose focus has been on helping people & working damn hard on the issues that truly matter is not sufficiently valued & does not make the count then we must all despair for the future.”

Meanwhile DUP candidate Mrs Carla Lockhart, who was elected on the first count, had consoling words for Mrs Dobson, “I would like to pay tribute to Jo-Ann Dobson, who, as a result of her leader’s comments, lost her seat,” she said. “ Although we are in different parties she is a unionist and made a valuable contribution during her time in office.”

Paying tribute to his party colleague, local UUP Councillor Glenn Barr said: “Throughout my time in politics Jo-Anne Dobson has always been there for me, offering both wisdom and practical support. She has been more than just a colleague, she is a good friend.

“It has been a privilege to work alongside Jo-Anne and her team and I wish them well for the future.”