Dee Quigley ‘on cloud nine’ after historic election

A total of 20 candidates will seek nine seats on Nenagh MDC
A total of 20 candidates will seek nine seats on Nenagh MDC

The first independent Derry candidate to be elected for many years has thanked those who turned out to vote for him.

Dermot (Dee) Quigley took one of the six seats in the Ballyarnettt ward of the new Dery-Strabane supercouncil, which comes into being in 2015.

Mr Quigley was elected last night along with Sinn Fein Councillor Elisha McLaughlin and SDLP Councillor Brian Tierney.

Earlier, Sinn Fein’s Sandra Duffy and Tony Hassan through along with the SDLP’s Angela Dobbins.

Mr Quigley made history by becoming the first non-party affiliated candidate from a nationalist area to be elected in a nationalist Derry ward for decades.

Indications are that other independents could also make it onto the new 40-seat council by the close of the election count.

Mr Quigley, whose young nephew Andrew died by suicide after suffering addiction problems in Janaury this year, has campaigned strongly for a detox centre to be set up in Derry, among other issues.

He said he was on “cloud nine” after being given a mandate to take these issues forward into the new council.

Mr Quigley received 1,037 first preference votes, just shy of the quota of 1,099 votes, but was elected in the later rounds of counting.

He said his victory was “down to a lot of hard work and a lot of commitment to getting across what I beleive the needs and issues of our community are”.

“I am a proud Fergleen man, a proud Galliagh man and a proud Ballyarnett man tonight, and I look forward to representing the people of this area.

“I am absolutely delighted that the people of the Ballyarnettt ward grabbed hold of the need for change and that it was time for change. Hard working men and women need to feel that their needs and issues are being taken seriously.”

Sinn Fein Councillor Sandra Duffy was the first person to be elected to the new supercouncil and topped the poll in the Ballyarnett ward, making this the first time the party have topped the poll in this area.

It is also the first time that Sinn Fein have emerged as the strongest party in the Ballyarnett ward, after the shocking departure of Jimmy Carr from the party earlier this week, and the otther young SDLP hopeful Colm O’Connor failing to take a third seat for the party.

Carr had gone on to stand as an independent but failed to get elected, with 605 first preferences.

The Ballyarnett area takes in Galliagh, Shantallow, Culmore, Carnhill, Skeoge and Shantallow East districts.

Ms Duffy, who will be a first time councillor, told the Journal: “I am delighted and over the moon and I want to thank the electorate in Ballyarnett ward for coming out and voting for me.

“My two colleagues Tony Hassan and Elisha McCallion have done a sterling job. We put a project in place a number of years ago to become the biggest party in this ward. and I hope it is the start of good news for SInn Fein across the country, and we will be the biggest party in Derry and Strabane.

“I can’t wait for Martina [Anderson] to be elected now as well.”

The SDLP’s Gerard Diver was the first person past the post in the Waterside.

Mr Diver said he was delighted to have topped the poll in the Waterside ward.

“I am very thankful of the people of the Waterside for coming out and supporting me as they have done consistently.

“I look forward to the challenges of the new council and working with people from all parties. It is going to be very interesting, the make-up of the council.”

Mr Diver said that the strong polling so far by independent candidates standing in the Derry Strabane area “on particular issues” would “no doubt affect the overall picture” of the new council.

Mr Diver was joined by party colleague and current Mayor Martin Reilly on the new council, along with the UUP’s Mary Hamilton, who was the highest polling unionist candidate.

The DUP meanwhile have taken three seats in the Waterside, with Drew Thompson along with new councillors Hilary McClintock and David Ramsey.

The candidates who lost out on a seat in the Waterside were Julia Kee (UUP), Bridget Meehan (Sinn Fein), Niree McMorris (DUP), Kyle Thompson (UKIP), David Malcolm (UKIP) and Michael Carlin (Independent).

Two recounts were ordered for the Sperrin Ward after a discrepancy was discovered yesterday. The second recount finished last night but no-one had met the quota. This was due to resume at 8am today.