DUP give cityside unionists a choice for first time since 2001

Niree McMorris (centre) with her election agent Gary Middleton and Waterside candidates Drew Thompson, Hilary McClintock & David Ramsey.
Niree McMorris (centre) with her election agent Gary Middleton and Waterside candidates Drew Thompson, Hilary McClintock & David Ramsey.

Cityside unionists will have a chance to vote for a traditional loyalist in a local Council election for the first time in nearly twenty years next month.

Not since William Temple stood as an independent in the old Northland District Electoral Area (DEA) in 2001 have west bank unionists had a chance to vote for someone who shares their position.

The DUP, for the first time since J.A. Noble ran in Northland in 1985, has named Niree McMorris, as its candidate for The Moor DEA. Two decades ago the Northland, contained wards like Crevagh, The Diamond and Strand, where there were relatively large numbers of unionist electors.

That’s changed, however, with The Moor DEA having taken in The Diamond, including the Fountain, and parts of Crevagh and the Strand.

The DUP has decided to give the unionists of those areas someone to vote for next month.

“We are delighted that people living in the Fountain and the wider community across The Moor DEA will have the opportunity to vote for a DUP candidate. It is the first time a unionist candidate has contested an election in the area for a number of years. Whether at Westminster or in Council chambers only the DUP has the strength to deliver for everyone in Northern Ireland.

“The DUP is the only party that has delivered extra funding for public services in NI over the last few years,” a spokesperson said.

While religious persuasion is never a clear indicator of political preference 3,169 (5 per cent) of people living on the west bank identified as Protestant at the last census in 2011. Several of the wards that now make up parts of The Moor DEA featured the highest Protestant populations at that time. These included Crevagh (383), The Diamond (364), Creggan Central (90), Westland (71), Beechwood (55) and Creggan South (50).

Strand, part of which is also now part of The Moor DEA, was home to 434 Protestants in 2011.

David Davis was the last unionist to be elected on the cityside when he took a seat in Northland in 1989.