SDLP’s Pol Callaghan loses Assembly seat

A worried looking Pol Callaghan (SDLP) pictured at the count centre in Lisneal College.
A worried looking Pol Callaghan (SDLP) pictured at the count centre in Lisneal College.

The SDLP’s Pol Callaghan had said he is “disappointed” not to have been returned to the Assembly.

Mr Callaghan was the only MLA from the previous Assembly seeking relection to lose his seat.

The Letterkenny man was co-opted into the Assembly after Mark Durkan stepped down to focus on his duties at Westminster.

Mr Callaghan received 2,624 first preference votes in the poll, the lowest of the four SDLP candidates.

While he insisted as the poll began that he was in contention for the sixth seat, tally men at the count centre were predicting that he would lose out.

He received 67 votes following the distribution of Willie Hay’s surplus, 38 after the distribution of Martina Anderson’s and 160 when Keith McGrellis, Terry Doherty and Paul McFadden were excluded, bringing his total to 2890.

At that stage he had the least number of votes and was excluded.

The former MLA said; “When you put your name forward you have to be aware of the possibility that you will not come through especially when you are a newcomer to frontline politics and you are up against three high profile candidates from our party and others from the other parties,” he said.

Mr Callaghan said he was pleased with his own performance. “I am proud of the vote I got for myself and the party. I know I polled very strongly in the quarter of the constituency I was allocated to canvass,” he said.

He also said he will be reflecting on the result in the days ahead. “As a party we will be reflecting on the votes and on consolidating the performance in this constituency. Unfortunately across the north we did not do as well as we would have hoped.

“I’d like to thank everyone who voted for me, my wife Fiona, and my election agent, Brenda Stevenson.”