Council election count under way
The new make up of Derry & Strabane Council will be revealed this weekend after voters headed to the polls across the city and district yesterday.
The first boxes were opened early this morning at Foyle Arena, with the full count expected to take between two and three days.
A total of 75 candidates have been nominated to fight for the 40 seats available across the seven different wards that make up the local electoral area.
This is the first council election since the old Derry City Council and Strabane District Councils officially merged. When voters headed to the polls back in 2014 to elect those who would serve on the supercouncil, turnout was 53.4 per cent.
Early indications yesterday revealed a mixed picture with brisk polling at some stations in Derry city, while small flurries of activity were followed by lulls at other stations.
During the 2014 election, Sinn Fein emerged as by far the largest party, with 16 seats and 36.1 per cent of the overall vote. The SDLP secured 10 seats (two councillors have since left the party and are this time around standing as Independent candidates) and the DUP secured eight seats. Four independent representatives were elected as well as two UUP representatives.
The candidates who topped the poll last time were: Gary Middleton, DUP (Faughan, now an MLA); Sinn Fein’s Sandra Duffy (Ballyarnett); Independent Gary Donnelly (The Moor); SDLP’s John Boyle (Foyleside); SDLP’s Gerard Diver (Waterside, has since left the council); UUP’s Derek Hussey (Derg) and DUP’s Allan Bresland (Sperrin).
A number of co-opted councillors and new candidates will be facing the electorate for the first time.