Local Election 2019

Constituency Notebook: Fianna Fáil could dip toe in Causeway Coast and Glens battle

The Causeway Coast poll could be as tricky as crossing the Carrick-A-Rede bridge. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
Seamus McKinney

Interest in nationalist/republican terms in Causeway Coast and Glens is likely to settle on whether or not the SDLP’s new arrangement with Fianna Fáil will make any difference.

With the Republic’s parties preparing for their own elections, Fianna Fáil were always unlikely to send canvassers north. However, Inishowen Fianna Fáil TD, Charlie McConalogue is expected to join the SDLP canvass in Benbradagh. The Donegal TD has been involved in talks with his Causeway Coast colleagues about areas of mutual interest across Lough Foyle, such as the Foyle Ferry.

That aside, the key fight in Causeway Coast will be the battle between the DUP and Ulster Unionists with the DUP hoping to regain ground it won in the 2011 election.

An amalgamation of Limavady, Coleraine, Moyle, Ballymoney councils, Causeway Coast covers most of the north coast, stretches from the Sperrins to Cushendall and includes Rathlin Island.

Only two of its seven District Electoral Areas (DEA) returned nationalist majorities in 2014. The breakdown in Benbradagh, taking in Dungiven, and The Glens, was four nationalist councillors to one unionist in each.

While still the dominant party, the DUP’s control slipped in the 2014 election with the Ulster Unionist Party making gains, largely through sound vote management. Conscious that they’re snapping at the DUP heels, the UUP will at least be trying to consolidate their standing if not go one better.

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Causeway Coast is interesting in that it gives a temperature reading on the state of the parties within unionism. At present the DUP hold 11 of the 40 seats with the UUP on ten; a one-seat change would give the Ulster Unionists dominance over their electoral opposition.

Another new departure within nationalism is the inclusion on the ballot paper of candidates from the new Aontú party in two constituencies. Former Sinn Féin assembly member, Francie Brolly is standing in the five-seater Limavady DEA while his son, Proinsias Brolly is standing for the party in Benbradagh. Francie Brolly’s wife, Anne – a former mayor of Limavady – was to stand for Aontú but her candidature was ruled out because she had taken a severance package in the 2014 reform of local government, paving the way for the couple’s son, Proinsias to stand.

In Limavady, Francie Brolly is going head-to-head with his erstwhile party colleague, Brenda Chivers while his son, Proinsias will be trying to face down Sinn Féin candidates, Sean McGlinchey (who topped the poll in 2014), Dermot Nicholl and Kathleen McGurk. Veteran councillor, Orla Beattie will fly the flag for the SDLP in Benbradagh. In Limavady, the SDLP is fielding electoral newcomer, Ashleen Schenning – a daughter of party heavyweight, John Dallat - who will be hoping to replace sitting member, John Deighan who is not standing.

In the five-seater Glens DEA, Sinn Féin is running three candidates as it takes on the SDLP’s sitting member, Margaret-Anne McKillop. Sinn Féin currently hold two seats in the DEA and will be hoping to maximise transfers.

As in other areas, candidates are reporting a high level of voter dissatisfaction over issues unrelated to local government such as Westminster and Brexit. This could result in a higher turnout, according to one party worker as voters vent their spleen over the status quo.

“The non-voters are realising that whether you stay at home or go out, you’re still voting,” he said.

CANDIDATES

Causeway (7 seats)

Mark Fielding (DUP)

John McAuley (DUP)

Sharon McKillop (DUP)

Norman Hillis (UUP)

Sandra Hunter (UUP)

Stewart Moore (TUV)

Cyril Quigg (TUV)

Rebecca Hanna (UKIP)

Chris McCaw (Alliance)

Mark Coulson (Green)

David Alexander (Ind)

Angela Mulholland (SDLP)

Emma Thompson (SF)

Coleraine (6 seats)

Philip Anderson (DUP)

Trevor Clarke (DUP)

George Duddy (DUP)

William McCandless (UUP)

John Wisener (UUP)

Russell Watton (PUP)

Armanda Ranaghan (UKIP)

David Harding (Con)

Yvonne Boyle (Alliance)

Stephanie Quigley (SDLP)

Ciarán Archibald (SF)

Ballymoney (7 seats)

John Finlay (DUP)

Alan McLean (DUP)

Ivor Wallace (DUP)

Tom McKeown (UUP)

Darryl Wilson (UUP)

William Blair (TUV)

John Wilson (TUV)

David Hanna (UKIP)

Peter McCully (Alliance)

Ian Richard Stevenson (Ind)

Cathal McLaughlin (SF)

Leanne Peacock (SF)

Bann (5 seats)

Sam Cole (DUP)

Michelle Knight-McQuillan (DUP)

Adrian McQuillan (DUP)

Richard John Holmes (UUP)

William King (UUP)

Elizabeth Collins (TUV)

Timmy Reid (PUP)

Charlie McConaghy (Alliance)

Helena Dallat O'Driscoll (SDLP)

Sean Bateson (SF)

Limavady (5 seats)

Aaron Callan (DUP)

James McCorkell (DUP)

Alan Robinson (DUP)

Raymond Kennedy (UUP)

Colin Cartwright (TUV)

Kevin Hayward (Alliance)

Ashleen Schenning (SDLP)

Brenda Chivers (SF)

Francie Brolly (Aontu)

The Glens (5 seats)

Bill Kennedy (DUP)

Joan Baird (UUP)

Ambrose Laverty (Ind)

Margaret Anne McKillop (SDLP)

Oliver McMullan (SF)

Cara McShane (SF)

Kieran James Mulholland (SF)

Benbradagh (5 seats)

Edgar Scott (DUP)

Robert Thomas Carmichael (UUP)

Boyd Douglas (TUV)

Christine Turner (Alliance)

Orla Beattie (SDLP)

Sean McGlinchey (SF)

Kathleen McGurk (SF)

Dermot Nicholl (SF)

Proinsias Brolly (Aontu)

2014 Results Votes by Party:

DUP: 26.9%

Sinn Féin: 19.9%

UUP: 17.3%

SDLP: 12.5%

TUV: 10.4%

Alliance: 3.9%

PUP: 1.7%

UKIP: 1.1%

Others: 6.3%

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