DCSIMG

Election a game of two halves

Cllr Thomas Beckett, DUP, is congratulated by Jeffrey Donaldson MP after becoming the first councillor to be elected to sit on the new Lisburn/Castlereagh super council. Picture: Cliff Donaldson US1422-528cd Picture: Cliff Donaldson

Cllr Thomas Beckett, DUP, is congratulated by Jeffrey Donaldson MP after becoming the first councillor to be elected to sit on the new Lisburn/Castlereagh super council. Picture: Cliff Donaldson US1422-528cd Picture: Cliff Donaldson

The local government election in Lisburn City and Castlereagh District Council was a game of two halves - half to the DUP and half to their diverse opponents.

With 23,600 first-preference votes cast in its favour, the DUP secured 20 of the 40 seats up for grabs, one shy of an outright majority on the new supercouncil when it gets up and running in earnest next April.

At 48.86%, the - many would say poor - turnout didn’t suffer too much by comparison, significant numbers of eligible voters snubbing the poll in all parts.

Few Lisburn and Castlereagh candidates, of any stripe, made the quota straight out of the gate. The DUP’s Thomas Beckett, a sitting Lisburn councillor, was one who did.

The 1,216 votes cast for Councillor Beckett in Killultagh earned him the historic distinction of being the first supercouncil candidate to be deemed elected in Northern Ireland.

Other first-preference finishers included Ulster Unionist newcomer Robbie Butler in Killultagh, poll-topping Downshire East DUP candidate Luke Poots, his 1,245 first-preference votes, the highest total across the seven DEAs, a rousing endorsement of his earlier co-option to council; sitting Ulster Unionist councillor Brian Bloomfield, topping the poll in Lisburn North and Alliance’s Geraldine Rice, 257 votes ahead of her nearest rival - the SDLP’s John Gallen - at the top of the Castlereagh South table.

For an otherwise strident DUP there were a few casualties along the way, established councillors among the candidates counted out as the weekend tally sped its way through Friday and on to Saturday evening.

DUP councillors Roy Young, Downshire East, and Alan Carlisle, Lisburn South, fell by the wayside.

Councillor Yvonne Craig made a late-stage exit in Lisburn North even as DUP colleagues Margaret Tolerton and Scott Carson were re-elected, another, Jenny Palmer, publicly at odds with the party’s upper echelon over a housing issue last year, likewise making it past the post, a result earlier in some doubt among observers.

Mrs Craig’s exclusion was overshadowed at the time as NI21’s Johnny McCarthy went to the wire to defy the odds and secure the crisis-hit party’s one and only council seat.

The second highest number of seats in Lisburn and Castlereagh went to the Ulster Unionists, themselves claiming a victory in Lisburn, where they upped their presence from four seats to six.

UUP candidates took eight seats in all, the Alliance Party seven, the SDLP three, the TUV and NI21 one apiece.

UUP candidates secured 8,311 first preference votes; Alliance, 5,492; the SDLP, 3,658; NI21, 3,173; the TUV, 2,720; Sinn Fein, 2,150; UKIP, 824; the PUP, 695; NI Conservatives, 376; the Green Party, 194 and the three independents, 169 between them, Jonny Orr polling lowest, with 33 votes.

 

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