Northern Ireland

Sinn Féin will be hoping to make further gains in Newry, Mourne and Down

Constituency Notebook

There are seven wards in the sprawling district of Newry, Mourne and Down, which has a population of around 180,000 people
There are seven wards in the sprawling district of Newry, Mourne and Down, which has a population of around 180,000 people

Sinn Féin will be hoping to pull further away from their nearest rivals in Newry, Mourne and Down and capitalise on gains made in the last council election.

In 2019, Sinn Féin secured an extra two seats, in contrast to the SDLP that suffered a seven per cent drop in support and the loss of three councillors.

For the unionist parties last time round, it was the UUP that fared better, taking a seat from the DUP in Slieve Croob, while Alliance increased their share of the vote by five per cent, but it did not result in any new seats for the party.

So what will be the fate of the parties this time round?

A total of 80 candidates are chasing seats across seven wards in this sprawling district, which has a population of around 180,000 people. 

It takes in towns such as Crossmaglen, Downpatrick and Ballynahinch, as well as the city of Newry and parts of south Armagh also.

With the overall turnout last time round at 55.25 per cent, those hoping for selection - from sitting councillors to those facing the ballot box for the first time - will be hoping that the electorate cast their vote this year.

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Sinn Féin are running more than 20 candidates, including a number of sitting councillors such as Mickey Ruane and Willie Clarke.

The party says the large number of candidates across the district is "illustrative of the historic electoral success the party has achieved in recent years in south Down, Newry, and south Armagh".

With Sinn Féin aiming to increase its presence on the council, will the SDLP struggle like it did at the 2019 ballot box?

The party has a number of long-standing councillors running again, such as Terry Andrews in Rowallane and Michael Savage in Newry.

And while there will be new names on the ballot papers for the party, one name that will not appear this time round is Dermot Curran.

The SDLP stalwart, the longest serving councillor in Northern Ireland politics, is retiring after 50 years and will not contest the Downpatrick seat.

His party colleague John Trainor has also stood down in Downpatrick, with just Gareth Sharvin left to defend his seat with Conor Galbraith and Aurla King joining him on the ballot paper.

But could this potentially offer Sinn Féin the opportunity to take one of the SDLP seats?

The Alliance Party is running eight candidates with one in each district electoral area, apart from Rowallane, where the party is targeting two seats after Patrick Brown topped the poll there in 2019 with 1,416 first preference votes.

Cadogan Enright, elected on an independent ticket in 2019, is contesting his first election under the Alliance banner, while Newry candidate Helena Young is hoping to win the party’s first seat in the area for almost 50 years.

"With the Alliance surge still going strong, we have a fantastic opportunity to increase our representation in local government and elect Alliance councillors in every area," she said.

UUP candidates in the district include sitting councillors Walter Lyons and Robert Burgess in Rowallane with his son Alexander also vying for a seat in Downpatrick.

Down Cathedral at the site of Saint Patrick grave site in Downpatrick
Down Cathedral at the site of Saint Patrick grave site in Downpatrick

The DUP’s Sharon Harvey, wife of Strangford MLA Harry Harvey is hoping to take a seat, while Callum Bowsie and Jonny Jackson are facing the electorate for the first time after they were co-opted to replace Kathryn Owen and Yvonne Moore of the DUP.

Alan Lewis, who topped the poll in 2019 as a member of the UUP,  is running this time round for the DUP.

Other candidates of interest are the TUV’s Harold McKee, a former UUP politician, who is fighting his first election for Jim Allister’s party.

There's also a number of candidates standing on an independent ticket who will be worth watching, including Jarlath Tinnelly, who topped the poll last time round in Crotlieve.

And there was the recent surprise announcement that former Downpatrick Sinn Féin councillor Éamonn Mac Con Midhe is standing as an independent.

The Green Party is contesting seats in all district electoral areas apart from Newry with Aontú also hoping to secure seats.



Jim Boylan (Independent)

Mark Gibbons (Independent)

Finbarr Lambe (Independent)

Kate Murphy (Sinn Féin)

Selina Murphy (Sinn Féin)

Declan McAteer (SDLP)

Ricky McGaffin (UUP)

Karen McKevitt (SDLP)

Daniel Neary (Alliance)

Gerry O'Hare (Sinn Féin)

Hugh O'Reilly (Green Party)

Keith Parke (DUP)

Mickey Ruane (Sinn Féin)

Anne Sheridan (SDLP)

Jarlath Tinnelly (Independent)


Alexander Burgess (UUP)

Philip Campbell (Sinn Féin)

Cadogan Enright (Alliance)

Conor Galbraith (SDLP)

Oonagh Hanlon (Sinn Féin)

Sharon Harvey (DUP)

Aurla King (SDLP)

Éamonn Mac Con Midhe (Independent)

Louise Rooney (Sinn Féin)

Gareth Sharvin (SDLP)

Declan Walsh (Green Party)


Doire Finn (SDLP)

Nicola Grant (Workers Party)

Valerie Harte (Sinn Féin)

Geraldine Kearns (Sinn Féin)

Cathal King (Sinn Féin)

Mariya Krupska (Independent)

Sharon Loughran (Aontú)

Aidan Mathers (Sinn Féin)

Andrew McCracken (UUP)

Michael Savage (SDLP)

Helena Young (Alliance)


Terry Andrews (SDLP)

Callum Bowsie (DUP)

Robert Burgess (UUP)

Rachel Gracey (UUP)

Jonny Jackson (DUP)

Tierna Kelly (Alliance)

Dermot Kennedy (Sinn Féin)

David Lee-Surginor (Alliance)

Ali McColl (Green Party)

Slieve Croob

Jim Brennan (Sinn Féin)

Hugh Gallagher (SDLP)

Roisin Howell (Sinn Féin)

Alan Lewis (DUP)

Walter Lyons (UUP)

Rosemary McGlone (Aontú)

Andrew McMurray (Alliance)

Siobhán O'Hare (Sinn Féin)

Seana Pitt (Green Party)

Will Polland (SDLP)

Slieve Gullion

Pete Byrne (SDLP)

Killian Feehan (SDLP)

Aoife Finnegan (Sinn Féin)

Caolan Gregory (Alliance)

Linda Henry (DUP)

Mickey Larkin (Sinn Féin)

Oonagh Magennis (Sinn Féin)

Declan Murphy (Sinn Féin)

Molly Ní Mhánais (Green Party)

Barra Ó Muiri (Sinn Féin)

Aine Quinn (Sinn Féin)

Liam Reichenberg (Aontú)

David Samuel Taylor (UUP)

The Mournes

Willie Clarke (Sinn Féin)

Laura Devlin (SDLP)

Lloyd Douglas (UUP)

Glyn Hanna (DUP)

Leeanne McEvoy (Sinn Féin)

Harold McKee (TUV)

Sean Ó Baoill (Green Party)

Dominic Vincent O'Reilly (SDLP)

Henry Reilly (DUP)

Michael Rice (Sinn Féin)

Jill Truesdale (Alliance)