Election: Eamonn McCann becomes new Derry & Strabane Councillor

Eamonn McCann has just been elected
Eamonn McCann has just been elected

Veteran civil rights campaigner Eamonn McCann has been elected to Derry City & Strabane District Council.

The author and journalist is now the second People Before Profit candidate to get elected to the Council after running mate Shaun Harkin took a seat in the Foyelside area.

Meanwhile former Mayor and Sinn Fein Creggan representative Kevin Campbell has been eliminated in another blow for the party in Derry.

The second day of counting got under way this morning at Foyle Arena, with much of the attention focused on The Moor ward.

Prior to this election Sinn Fein held three of the five seats in The Moor, and it it is now certain that the party has lost one of those seats, on top of losing seats in three other wards yesterday.

SDLP Councillor and current Mayor John Boyle, who moved from Foyleside to The Moor has also attracted a sizeable vote with 1,082 first preferences, 210 short of the quota.

Turnout for The Moor has been high at 60.37% - up from 56.6% back in 2014.

Former SDLP candidate Emmet Doyle, who was standing as an Independent this time round, was eliminated after securing 496 first preferences, while the DUP’s Niree McMorris - the party’s first candidate in the Moor for 18 years - was earlier eliminated along with Colm Cavanagh from Alliance.

Elsewhere, three of the seven seats in Waterside have been decided with former Derry Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive and SDLP first time candidate Sinead McLaughlin elected, along with poll topper Darren Guy from the UUP and the DUP’s Hilary McClintock.

Turnout in the Waterside was among the lowest across the city and district at 51.82%, but much higher in Sperrin where 61.43% of the electorate cast their votes, with the DUP's Allan Bresland has just been elected in Sperrin

The counts across four of the seven wards that make up Derry City & Strabane District Council were completed by Friday night, with the majority of the seats now filled.

A total of 75 candidates stood in the local Council election, hoping to take one of the 40 seats on the Council, and a more pluralist Council is already taking shape with 25 Councillors elected.

The SDLP has secured gains in its former stronghold of Derry and Strabane, with its candidates topping the poll in a number of areas and becoming the dominant party across the six-seat ward of Ballyarnett, talking half the seats, with Sinn Fein dropping a seat here, as well as in Derg and Foyleside, while the SDLP dropped a seat in Faughan.

The SDLP however gained a seat in Derg, with its candidate Cara Hunter becoming the first female representative in the ward in 21 years.

Sinn Féin meanwhile has also narrowly lost out on retaining its second seat in Foyleside where it came down to the wire between its candidate and former Councillor Eric McGinley and Independent candidate Sean Carr, who have moved from The Moor constituency and managed to emerge victorious after a recount.

The Council will also see some new parties and many new faces joining, with Shaun Harkin becoming People Before Profit’s first Councillor to win a seat in Derry & Strabane for Foyleside and Rachael Ferguson in Faughan becoming the first Alliance Party candidate to gain a seat locally in almost 40 decades.

Candidate for recently formed pro-life Republican party Aontú, Dr Anne McCloskey meanwhile made history by taking her party’s first seat in Ballyarnett.

Those who have been elected in each ward are:

BALLYARNETT: Angela Dobbins (SDLP), Brian Tierney (SDLP), Sandra Duffy (Sinn Féin), Aileen Mellon (Sinn Féin), Rory Farrell (SDLP), Dr Anne McCloskey (Aontú)

FOYLESIDE: Mary Durkan (SDLP), Shauna Cusack (SDLP), Shaun Harkin (People Before Profit), Mickey Cooper (Sinn Féin) and Sean Carr (Independent).

FAUGHAN: Graham Warke (DUP), Ryan McCready (DUP), Jim McKeever (SDLP), Paul Fleming (Sinn Fein), and Rachael Ferguson (Alliance Party).

DERG: Derek Hussey (UUP), Keith Kerrigan (DUP), Ruairí McHugh (Sinn Fein), Cara Hunter (SDLP), Kieran McGuire (Sinn Féin).

WATERSIDE: Darren Guy (UUP), Hilary McClintock (DUP), Sinead McLaughlin (SDLP) (ongoing).

THE MOOR: Gary Donnelly Independent, Eamonn McCann People Before Profit (ongoing)

SPERRIN: Allan Bresland (DUP) Ongoing

BREAKDOWN:

SDLP - 8 seats

Sinn Féin - 6 seats

DUP - 5 seats

People Before Profit- 2 seats

Aontú - One seat

Alliance - One seat

Independents - Two seats

UUP - Two seats