Firsts in Down and Strabane Councils

Sinn Fein-dominated Strabane Council (the party holds 8 of the 16 seats) has elected its first DUP chairman, Thomas Kerrigan, with the unanimous support of the Council. However, the election of the Vice-chairman, Sinn Fein’s Gerard Foley, did not receive the reciprocal backing of the DUP. Five years ago, Mr. Kerrigan’s decision to shake hands with Sinn Fein’s Ivan Barr led to the DUP man finding himself on the receiving end of some criticism from unionist quarters. There was no repeat handshake last night.

Meanwhile, Down Council has its first Sinn Fein chairman, Willie Clarke.