The decision by UKIP to suspend Henry Reilly comes on the back of a simmering tension between the man largely credited with building UKIP in Northern Ireland- Mr Reilly- and the ‘defector’ from the UUP- David McNarry.
It is understood there were a number of internal contentious issues around McNarry and the direction which he was taking UKIP. It is the feeling of some- who remain within UKIP- that David McNarry is using the party primarily to undermine the UUP as part of a personal revenge mission, rather than seeking to promote the policies and vision of the UKIP membership.
It is worth pointing out that David McNarry has become an outspoken critic of the system of Government in Northern Ireland- which is of course the core architecture of the Belfast Agreement. Mr McNarry was one of David Trimble’s close associates and a key player in developing the Belfast Agreement. He is effectively now an arch critic of the system that he himself helped to design.
It is also worth pointing that that David McNarry was the UUP Chief of Staff when the EU flag was erected above the UUP Headquarters- yet now- he is a UKIP MLA, the primary opposition to Britain’s membership of the EU.
It is believed that all these contradictions, coupled with McNarry’s isolating of the regional chair, has led to the situation whereby the face of UKIP within Northern Ireland has been suspended from the party.
David McNarry continues to have a group of party activists around him- many of whom remain loyal due to the fact they are receiving wages from the Stormont allowance.
There is great disappointment and dismay being expressed amongst many UKIP supporters within Northern Ireland following the suspension of Henry Reilly. It is undoubtedly a move that will harm the party at the polls.