The TUV has accused Royal Mail of an “orchestrated attempt to disrupt” its election campaign in Newry and Armagh amid claims that party literature has not been delivered to a large number of homes.
The accusation has been levelled by TUV leader Jim Allister and his party’s candidate for the constituency, Keith Ratcliffe.
The Laurelvale man, who will be seeking election to the Northern Ireland Assembly next week, claims that, when it comes to delivering election literature, addressed have been “missed in Armagh ,Markethill, Tandragee Lauelvale, Bessbrook, Loughall, Ardress, Mountnoris and other areas”.
Said Mr Ratcliffe: “In every election, Royal Mail delivers a postal communication on behalf of each of the candidates. This literature is paid for by the relevant party and is a key part of anyone’s campaign as it allows candidates to reach every elector in the area directly.
“In the vast majority of cases I am advised Royal Mail does an excellent job and their communication with TUV on the few occasions when issues have arisen during this campaign, and for that matter other campaigns, has been good with rational explanations offered for why the odd leaflet ended up in the wrong area.
“However, it has become clear to me that there is a systemic issue when it comes to the delivery of TUV postal literature in Newry and Armagh.
“We have been able to provide Royal Mail with a large number of addresses right across the consistency which have not received our literature. We know of addresses which have been missed in Armagh ,Markethill, Tandragee Lauelvale, Bessbrook ,Loughgall, Ardress, Mountnoris and other areas.
“In one particularly stark example, a person who signed my nomination papers got our literature. My relatives who live either side of him on the same road did not receive my postal communication.
“Royal Mail have been unable to provide any explanation as to what has happened claiming that the managers in the relevant offices have said that all addresses have received their literature.
“They have promised to redeliver to the addresses we have provided them with but I believe the issue may impact on thousands of homes, something which could materially impact the result of the election in Newry and Armagh.”
TUV leader Jim Allister was scathing in his response.
He added: “This issue is so widespread it suggests there is an orchestrated attempt to disrupt our election campaign in Newry and Armagh.
“Royal Mail have been unable to provide a credible explanation thus far so we are calling on them to come clean on why TUV literature has not been delivered to a large number of homes”.
A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “We received a complaint from TUV about some residents having told the party that they had not received TUV’s election mail in Newry and Armagh.