Dromore High the one regret for former MLA

Jonathan Craig
Jonathan Craig

The then Education Minister’s pre-election failure to give the go-ahead for Dromore High School’s planned new home is former Lagan Valley MLA Jonathan Craig’s one regret.

So said the unseated DUP Assembly member as he reflected on his time at Stormont.

Ahead of recent ministerial appointments, which in fact saw the education portfolio go to the DUP’s Peter Weir, Mr Craig, himself a former Dromore High School pupil, said: “

“I got to the point of getting the Department to spend £2 million on a site for the school but the Minister backtracked on a personal assurance he gave to me around the announcement of the newbuild before the election.

“I believe that whoever takes over the education ministry will have to rubber stamp the build. I hope and pray that the DUP takes education but that is not in my control.”

Beyond that, Mr Craig, who thanked his former staff and everyone who supported him in recent weeks, feels he achieved everything he set out to achieve in the Assembly.

“I was very keen to turn around the situation we had in Lagan Valley around social housing,” he said. “It was a real bugbear of mine.

“In the 15 years I was in politics you couldn’t get a property for anybody. We had been shortchanged and politically discriminated against by Social Development Ministers.

“We managed to get 175 homes in Windermere, 150 in Ballymacash and we are in the process of building over 100 in Seymour Hill. On top of that there have been several other major private purchases,”

Mr Craig also takes pride in his service on the Policing Board.

While no longer representing Lagan Valley at Stormont, Mr Craig’s days in politics may not be over; there have been strong suggestions he might be co-opted back onto Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council to fill the seat vacated by Jenny Palmer, who held it as a DUP councillor before here split with the party and return to the ranks of the Ulster Unionist Party.

Mr Craig, who served on the council before his election to the Assembly, confirmed he had submitted his application for the position, but he stressed he would not second guess the decision which would be made by party officers; nor would be wish to influence the selection process.