Local Election 2019

Journalist's murder to be a factor in Derry and Strabane

Derry City and Strabane District Council could feature new faces following election. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
Seamus McKinney

THE murder of journalist Lyra McKee is likely to loom large over the Derry City and Strabane District Council election.

In unprecedented scenes after Ms McKee was shot and fatally wounded by the New IRA, people in Derry showed their anger against dissident republicans through vigils and protests. The journalist's murder and that anger is likely to be a factor in people's minds as they cast their vote.

Derry and Strabane is one of five Northern Ireland council areas which could find themselves at the coalface of Brexit should the UK eventually leave the EU. Stretching from the Donegal border almost to Greysteel, it recorded an electorate of 102,469 in the 2014 election with a 53 per cent turn-out.

On the doorsteps, it appears candidates are facing the wrath of voters for matters over which they have no control. A number of candidates said the absence of a Stormont government and the mayhem at Westminster appeared to have taken precedence over the bread and butter issues normally raised at local government level.

Most outgoing councillors are standing although, in a strange twist, some are contesting an election for the first time having been co-opted for former party colleagues. Among those not seeking re-election are Derry independent, Darren O'Reilly, Strabane Sinn Féin member, Karina Carlin as well as veteran Ulster Unionist, Mary Hamilton.

The last four years featured a number of changes, particularly the departure from the SDLP of two sitting councillors. Sean Carr from Derry and Patsy Kelly from Strabane will both contest the election as independents. The SDLP has also shifted outgoing mayor, John Boyle from the Foyleside DEA to The Moor, a move which many observers believe is an effort to win the seat lost when Mr Carr left the party - he has himself moved to Foyleside.

The Derry and Strabane election features a host of well-known names. Former Sinn Féin east Derry assembly member, Cathal Ó hOisín is attempting to re-enter electoral politics by contesting the Sperrin DEA. There will also be interest in Faughan in the fortunes of Sinn Féin new-comer candidate, Conor Heaney a former special advisor to the late deputy first minister, Martin McGuinness.

In Foyleside, barrister, Mary Durkan, sister of assembly member, Mark H Durkan, is standing for the SDLP. In Waterside, the party is fielding co-opted sitting councillor, Sinéad McLaughlin a former chief executive of Derry's chamber of commerce.

The poll also marks a first time outing for the new Aontú party in Derry. Former independent assembly candidate, Anne McCloskey is standing in the Ballyarnett six-seater DEA. The Derry woman, a vociferous anti-abortion campaigner, retired last month after working as a GP in the area for 28 years.

Most interest is likely to focus on the performance of veteran socialist, Eamon McCann who is standing in his native The Moor DEA. The People before Profit Alliance candidate only tasted short-lived electoral success in the May 2016 to January 2017 assembly. He is one of 11 candidates contesting five seats and is up against sitting councillors, Patricia Logue, Gary Donnelly, mayor, John Boyle and Kevin Campbell.

The election also features Alliance candidates in every DEA with the party hoping to make a breakthrough in the west of the Bann region which has proved slim pickings for them for many years.

With 74 candidates chasing 40 seats and with Brexit and Stormont changing the political landscape, it would be no surprise if the balance of power in the next council lay with the smaller parties and independents.

CANDIDATES:

Ballyarnett (6 seats)

Nuala Crilly (PbP)

Angela Dobbins (SDLP)

Sandra Duffy (SF)

Rory Farrell (SDLP)

Anne McCloskey (Aontú)

Danny McCloskey (All)

Caoimhe McKnight (SF)

Neil McLaughlin (SF)

Aileen Mellon (SF)

Warren Robinson (Ind)

Brian Tierney (SDLP)

Derg (5 seats)

Cara Hunter (SDLP)

Derek Hussey (UUP)

Keith Kerrigan (DUP)

Thomas Kerrigan (DUP)

Kieran McGuire (SF)

Maolíosa McHugh (SF)

Ruarí McHugh (SF)

Anne Murray (All)

Andy Patton (Ind)

Faughan (5 seats)

Rachel Ferguson (All)

Paul Fleming (SF)

Gus Hastins (SDLP)

Conor Heaney (SF)

Paul Thomas Hughes (Ind)

William Jamieson (UUP)

Ryan McCready (DUP)

Jim McKeever (SDLP)

Brenda Stevenson (SDLP)

Graham Warke (DUP)

Foylesdie (5 seats)

Sean Carr (Ind)

Michael Cooper (SF)

Shauna Cusack (SDLP)

John Doherty (All)

Mary Durkan (SDLP)

Hayleigh Fleming (SF)

Shaun Harkin (PbP)

Eric McGinley (SF)

Lilian Seenoi-Barr (SDLP)

Sperrin (7 seats)

Jason Barr (SDLP)

Raymond Barr (Ind)

Michaela Boyle (SF)

Allan Bresland (DUP)

Maurice Devenney (DUP)

Edward Stevens (SDLP)

Corey French (Ind)

Paul Gags Gallagher (Ind)

Dan Kelly (SF)

Patsy Kelly (Ind)

Pauline McHenry ()

Andy McKane (UUP)

Brian McMahon (SF)

Scott Moore (All)

Cathal Ó hOisíin (SF)

The Moor (5 seats)

John Boyle (SDLP)

Cathy Breslin (SDLP)

Tina Burke (SF)

Kevin Campbell (SF)

Colm Cavanagh (All)

Gary Donnelly (Ind)

Emmet Doyle (Ind)

Sharon Duddy (SF)

Patricia Logue (SF)

Eamon McCann (PbP)

Niree McMorris (DUP)

Waterside (7 seats)

Darren Ross Guy (UUP)

Christopher Jackson (SF)

Hillary McClintock (DUP)

Philip McKinney (All)

Sinéad McLaughlin (SDLP)

Maeve O'Neill (PbP)

David Ramsey (DUP)

Martin Reilly (SDLP)

Drew Thompson (DUP)

2014 Vote share:

SF 19,384 (36.1%), 16 councillors

SDLP 13,773 (25.6%), 10 councillors

DUP 8,273 (15.4%), 8 councillors

UUP 4,065 (7.6%), 2 councillors

Alliance 843 (1.6%)

UKIP 696 (1.3%)

TUV 521 (1.0%)

PUP 274 (0.5%)

PBP 232 (0.4%)

Inds 5,677 (10.6%), 4 councillors

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Local Election 2019

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