SF and SDLP share spoils

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

SINN Fein and the SDLP will make up almost 70 per cent of the new Newry, Mourne and Down super council after returning 14 councillors each - but Sinn Fein remain the biggest party in the district after garnering over 36 per cent of the total first preference votes (22,613) compared to the SDLP's 29.8 per cent (18,568).
Unionist parties returned eight councillors (19.5 per cent), which means they narrowly missed out on securing the 20 per cent unionist minority required to veto any contentious issues or proposals on the nationalist-dominated council.
The remaining five councillors from a poor voting turn-out of just 52 per cent include three independent representatives and two Alliance councillors.
In Newry, Sinn Fein's Charlie Casey repeated his performance in 2011 by topping the poll with 1,693 first preference votes and was joined on the new council with party colleagues Liz Kimmons (1,567) and Valerie Harte (1,300) who were both elected on the first count.
Davy Hyland (Ind) was elected on the third count after polling 1,045 first preference votes, while the SDLP's Gary Stokes (938) reclaimed the council seat he lost in 2011 and is joined by newly elected councillor Kevin McAteer (629), elected on the seventh count.
In Slieve Gullion, long-standing Sinn Fein representative Terry Hearty topped the poll with a whopping 2,135 first preference votes, but the Crossmaglen councillor's huge tally may have dented his party's chance of returning five of the seven councillors in the DEA as colleague Daire Hughes narrowly missed out on the final seat after polling 899 first preference votes.
Sinn Fein's Mickey Larkin (1,411), Roisin Mulgrew (1,278) and Barra O'Muiri (1,218) were all elected and joined on the council by the SDLP's Geraldine Donnelly, who was elected on the first count with 1,516 votes, along with party colleague Kate Loughran (1,078) and Ulster Unionist David Taylor (1,243).
The SDLP's Declan McAteer topped the poll in Crotlieve (1,389) and was elected on the second count. Party colleagues Michael Carr (1,008) and Gillian Fitzpatrick (1,097) also made the cut on the third and seventh count respectively. Sinn Fein Mayor Mickey Ruane secured his re-election on the seventh count after polling 1,195 first preference votes, as did party colleague Sinead Ennis (1,328, sixth count).
The final seat went to independent councillor Jarlath Tinnelly, who was elected on the eighth count.
In the Mournes, UKIP's Henry Reilly topped the poll again with 1,964 first preference votes. Brian Quinn and Laura Devlin (SDLP), Willie Clarke and Sean Doran (Sinn Fein), Harold McKee (UUP) and Glyn Hanna (DUP) were also elected. In the three new DEA's joining with Newry and Mourne Council (Downpatrick, Slieve Croob and Rowallane), the SDLP returned five councillors, Sinn Fein and the DUP three apiece, Alliance two, and one Ulster Unionist and Independent councillor.
• For full coverage see pages 4-5.

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