THE Alliance Party have delivered a slap in the face to voters in West Belfast after it was confirmed their candidate will miss the entire election campaign due to commitments in the USA.

Eóin Millar, a former St Mary’s Christian Brothers’ Grammar School pupil was announced as the party's candidate for the upcoming Westminster election on July 4.

However, the Andersonstown News can reveal that he will be in USA for the election campaign as he is part of the Washington Ireland Program (WIP). In the past the Alliance party have been accused of putting forward 'paper candidates' in West Belfast. Millar's absence from the rest of the election campaign will do little to allay these concerns.

Eóin is a Second Year Law with Politics and International Studies student at Ulster University in Belfast. He currently works as a Casework and Communications Officer for Alliance North Down MLA Andrew Muir, who is also the Minister of Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Affairs.

He previously stood for the party in Colin DEA in last year's Belfast City Council election, receiving 492 first-preference votes.

In the last Westminster election, Alliance candidate Donna-Marie Higgins polled 1,882 votes.

Referring to Eóin's absence during the general election campaign, a spokesperson for the Alliance Party said: "It was a long-standing diary commitment. He's keeping in contact remotely and his team/Alliance West Belfast members continue to canvass in his absence."

Last week, Eóin was pictured canvassing in South Belfast for party candidate Kate Nicholl, who is standing for Belfast South and Mid Down.