Sir Jeffrey said, “I want to thank David and pay tribute to him for his many years of public service. David was first elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly in 1998 and was one of only three of the class of 1998 remaining. His retirement marks the completion of a remarkable thirty-two years of public service to the people of Carrickfergus, East Antrim and indeed Northern Ireland.
David first entered local government in 1991, winning a by-election in the Castle district of Carrickfergus Borough Council. During his time on the council, he served as Deputy Mayor from 1994 – 1996, and in 1997 he was elected as Mayor, serving a second term from 2004 – 2008.
Following David’s election to the Assembly he was subsequently re-elected in the 2011, 2016, 2017 and 2022 Assembly elections. On each occasion the people of East Antrim put their faith in him to work for them and he did not let them down. As a DUP MLA he has been a fine example of representative who never forgot where he came from and was rooted in and focused on the needs of his local community. He has been a dedicated, consistent and active member of our party for many decades, always helping and supporting colleagues locally and throughout Northern Ireland.
In recent years, he served on the Committee for the Economy, Committee for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Audit Committee and Education Committee. He has also served as a member on numerous all-party groups, including sports and physical recreation, football, cycling, animal welfare and reducing harm related to gambling. His commitment to his local town of Carrick is unrivalled.
David has faced his illness with determination and dignity. I know the thoughts, prayers and best wishes of colleagues not just in the DUP, but across the political spectrum are with him as he steps down from public life.”
East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson said, “Since elected to Carrickfergus Council in 1991, Davy Hilditch has been known as ‘Mr DUP’ in the Carrick area. He is well connected to his constituents through his involvement in the Loyal Orders, Football Clubs and community groups and from his previous job as a postman. He worked tirelessly and diligently on behalf of individual constituents and the general community. He won huge respect which was reflected in the votes he achieved at Council and Assembly level.
Despite fighting serious illness Davy never faltered in his dedication in the responsibility that he had as a public representative and only withdrew when it became apparent his illness was preventing him from carrying out those responsibilities. We thank him for the service he gave to the party, improving the Party brand in the area and faithfully upholding the unionist cause. We wish him all the best in his retirement.”
East Antrim MLA Gordon Lyons added, “I want to pay tribute to Davy and his decades of service to Carrickfergus and East Antrim. As an MLA, Councillor and Mayor he has faithfully served his constituents and their interests. No-one could knock doors in Carrickfergus and not hear many stories from people who Davy has helped over the years. His length of service and electoral record is testament to the high regard he is held in.