Derry & Strabane Council Elections May 2: Focus on Faughan ward
The Faughan electoral area is one the largest of in terms of geographical land mass of the seven districts that make up Derry City and Strabane District Council and includes the villages and regions of Newbuildings, Eglinton, Claudy, Enagh, Magheramason, Campsie and Bready.
A total of ten candidates are standing for Faughan in the forthcoming local government election, with five seats to be filled from the Faughan district.
Stretching from rural Derry to the city boundaries and across into west Tyrone, the inter-county area contains a wealth of natural and historical sites and assets.
These include plantation villages, country parks, Enagh Lough, Brackfield Bawn, Ashbrook House, standing stones and ancient tombs. It is also is home to some of Ireland’s oldest woodland at Ness and Oak Woods.
The Woodland Trust is creating a massive addition to the natural woodlands in the area, and there are also plans to create an outdoor forest hub in the woodlands of the Faughan Valley in the coming years, the first of its kind in Northern Ireland. The River Faughan has been a vital source for the people and the ecology of the region for millennia.
At last count, the Faughan area had a population of around 20,000 people, around a quarter of whom were aged 15 or under, while 11 per cent were aged 65 and over, making it among the youngest in terms of age profiles, of the seven districts.
Over half of those aged 16 and over in the region are married or in a civil partnership, while a further five per cent are co-habiting. Single people account for 31 per cent of the population, and five per cent widowed.
Over a fifth of residents live on their own, while 13 per cent lived in homes with five or more people in them.
Most households across the district - 58 per cent - had no dependent children living in them.
Given the rural nature of the region it is perhaps unsurprising that almost 80 per cent of residents live in detached or semi-detached properties, with 77 per cent owning their own homes.
In terms of health, over 80 per cent of people described their own as good or very good, while the most common disability among residents with a long term condition related to mobility and dexterity.
Almost 30 percent of residents aged 16 and over have no qualifications while over a quarter have achieved Level 4 or higher.
At the last census meanwhile, 66 per cent of residents aged between 16 and 74 were economically active, meaning that they were either in work or seeking and ready to work, with around 10 per cent self-employed.
The most common type of employment among local people was wholesale and retail trade, followed by human health and social work, manufacturing, construction and public administration.
Concerns and areas of interest for the electorate include employment opportunities, tourism, protecting the natural habitat, education, health, rural poverty, connectivity and community facilities.
The ten candidates for the Faughan are, in alphabetical order:
*Rachael Ferguson (Alliance)
*Paul Fleming (Sinn Féin)
*Gus Hastings (SDLP)
*Conor Heaney (Sinn Féin)
*Paul Hughes (Independent)
*William Jamieson (UUP)
*Ryan McCready (DUP)
*Jim McKeever (SDLP)
*Brenda Stevenson (SDLP)
*Graham Warke (DUP)