Video: Election hustings in Coleraine

An audience of around 100 people gathered as five candidates from the main Executive parties attended an election hustings at Causeway Coast Vineyard in Coleraine.

Causeway Coast Vineyard joined hundreds of churches across the UK in holding an election hustings event ahead of the vote on Thursday.

A packed Vineyard Church for the election hustings. INCR18-336PL

A packed Vineyard Church for the election hustings. INCR18-336PL

This was the only hustings debate to be held in the East Londonderry constituency, moderated by Peter Lynas of the Evangelical Alliance.

The five election candidates in attendance were Caomihe Archibald (Sinn Fein), Yvonne Boyle (Alliance), Gregory Campbell (DUP), William McCandless (UUP) and Gerry Mullan (SDLP).

It was noted that two remaining parties standing in the constituency did not attend; Liz St Clair-Legge (NI Conservatives) and Neil Paine (CISTA).

The hustings began with a welcoming introduction from host Peter Lynas, along with a short introductory video from the Evangelical Alliance. Each candidate then introduced themselves with brief opening statements.

Gerry Mullan (SDLP), Gregory Campbell (DUP), Yvonne Boyle (Alliance), William McCandless (UUP), and Caoimhe Archibald (Sinn F�in).

Gerry Mullan (SDLP), Gregory Campbell (DUP), Yvonne Boyle (Alliance), William McCandless (UUP), and Caoimhe Archibald (Sinn F�in).

Important subjects such as jobs, hospital services, immigration, tourism in the area, anti-social behaviour and education were discussed by the candidates. Peter Lynas set questions to the panel and also offered questions from the audience.

A sample of what the candidates said:

* Gerry Mullan, SDLP, said he felt compelled to stand for Westminster to encourage change, the tourism industry is vital in the area and would encourage more hotels in the area.

* Caoimhe Archibald, Sinn Fein, explained that the electorate understands they are an abstentionist party, encourages a move away from austerity, and to end zero hour contracts.

* William McCandless, UUP, said that people are our best asset, he intends to protect the health service, and he urged everyone to come out and vote.

* Yvonne Boyle, Alliance Party, said that the government must encourage the spirit of entrepreneurship, stand up to racism and race hate crime in the area.

Gregory Campbell, DUP, explained he will champion the North West hospital services, he would vote against welfare reform again, and aim to reduce tension in the communities.

Peter Lynas, from the Evangelical Alliance and event moderator, said: “It was a really successful night. With really great interaction, great statements from them setting out their positions and great questions from the floor.

“There were moments of heated exchanges from the candidates, some disagreements; we really got to the core issues. There were other issues where they all entirely agreed, on better tourism tax in this area, and more jobs in this area.

“It was a really great night in terms of anchoring this in a church in the centre of the constituency. I think a lot of people left better informed and hopefully prepared to go and vote on May 7 which is super important.”