All politics is local: links and open thread

With a broad slate and geographically dispersed contests, it might be a great help if people highlight local battles worth watching in the council elections. I’ve linked all the councils and local electoral areas at the end of this post for ease of reference (it will be useful if people name the one they are putting a flag over in comments, obviously).

Some of you might remember eleven in 11? Under the Review of Public Administration (RPA) there would now have been only eleven councils, so it is worth bearing in mind that fifteen of this year’s contests come courtesy of DUP Environment Minister, Edwin Poots (more on this later).

The overall state of play in the last few council elections has been fairly straightforward with the vast majority of seats being taken by the main parties. In 2005*, the final tally for the five main parties was: DUP – 182; SF – 126; UUP – 115; SDLP – 101; and, Alliance – 30. The remaining seats were filled by: Greens – 3; PUP – 2; UUC – 2; Newtownabbey Ratepayers Association – 1; and, Independents – 20 (including a number of independent Unionists). In 2001, the five main parties finished with: UUP – 154; DUP – 131; SDLP – 117; SF – 108; and, Alliance – 28. The remaining seats were filled by: PUP – 4; UUAP – 2; UKUP – 2; Newtownabbey Ratepayers Association – 1; Women’s Coalition – 1; Labour – 1; UDP – 2; and Independents – 31 (which included 6 independent Unionists). In 1997, the five main parties finished with: UUP – 185; SDLP – 120; DUP – 91; SF – 74; and, Alliance – 41. The remaining seats were filled by: PUP – 7; UKUP – 4; Newtownabbey Ratepayers Association – 2; Women’s Coalition – 1; Labour – 3; Conservatives – 3; UDP – 4; Democratic Left – 1; and, Independents – 46 (including 15 independent Unionists and 5 independent Nationalists).

[*All figures, and relevant links, are to Nicholas Whyte’s exhaustive work on, which contains further information including his detailed footnotes on variations in figures for party allegiances, etc.]

Tracked over thirty years, the consolidation of seats by the main parties is striking. In 1981 the number of councillors from outside the main parties was 17.3% (off 20.6% of first preference vote). In 1985 they held 7.2% of seats (off 9.6% fpv), in 1989 it was 10.4% of seats (off 11.9% fpv), while in 1993 they held 10.3% of seats (off 12% fpv). The latter day peak was reached in 1997 with 12% of seats (from 11% fpv) coming from outside the five parties. In 2001 it was back to 7.6% of seats (from 11% fpv) and in 2005, it was down to a mere 5.8% of seats (off 7% fpv).

Thus, the limited political space, outside the five largest groupings, has tended to become more and more restricted and heavily over-crowded. A handful of councillors has been the reward for those who have tried to add some eclecticism to the body politic, such as the Women’s Coalition or the Greens, whilst unionism and nationalism have both trended towards increasing homogenisation (in this regard the TUV, IRSP and érígí will be testing whether this is as much to do with the availability of alternatives as anything else). Given that almost six hundred seats are to be filled in the various electoral areas in each of the 26 councils there are a huge number of individual battles that will probably receive little attention despite the fact that, realistically, it presents the main opportunity for some parties to achieve electoral representation (such as the Greens, People Before Profit, PUP, IRSP, érígí and BNP).

Getting back to the RPA, there is a much bigger backstory here. Implementation, and, a substantial future reduction in the number of available seats means much higher electoral quotas. That puts huge pressure and great urgency on any parties wishing to make a breakthrough at council level this time around. Next time out, the bar will be significantly higher, with the added problem that a reduction in the number of Assembly constituencies is backloaded into the proposed re-drawing of the parliamentary boundaries.

The latter may be reflected in an element of lethargy in the current campaigns since, in various dimensions, party machines willl need re-engineered and candidate lists will be trimmed for future outings. For many, smaller, parties meaningful engagement on the local political scene may hinge on achieving representation at council level this time out. But is that being reflected at a local level??

Below are the district council pages on the election (with nominated candidates by each electoral area).

Antrim: (Antrim Town, Antrim South East, Antrim North West).

Ards: (Ards East, Ards Peninsula, Ards West, Newtownards)

Armagh: (Armagh City, Crossmore, CusherThe Orchard)

Ballymena: (Ballymena North, Ballymena South, Bannside, Braid).

Ballymoney: (Ballymoney Town, Bann Valley, Bushvale)

Banbridge: (Banbridge, Dromore, Knockiveagh)

Belfast (Balmoral, Castle, Court,Laganbank, Lower Falls, Oldpark, Pottinger, Upper Falls, Victoria)

Carrickfergus: (Carrick Castle, Kilroot, Knockagh Monument)

Castlereagh: (Castlereagh Central, Castlereagh East, Castlereagh South, Castlereagh West)

Coleraine: (Bann, Coleraine East, Coleraine Central, Skerries)

Cookstown: (Cookstown Central, Drum Manor, Ballinderry)

Craigavon: (Lurgan, Loughside, Central, Portadown)

Derry: (Northlands, Waterside, Cityside, Rural, Shantallow)

Down: (Downpatrick, Rowallan, Newcastle, Ballynahinch)

Dungannon and South Tyrone: (Clogher Valley, Blackwater, TorrentDungannon Town

Fermanagh: (Enniskillen, Erne East, Erne West, Erne North)

Larne: (Larne Town, Coast Road, Larne Lough

Limavady: (Bellarena, Benbradagh, Limavady Town)

Lisburn: (Downshire, Dunmurry Cross, Killultagh, Lisburn Town North, Lisburn Town South)   

Magherafelt: (Magherafelt Town, Moyola, Sperrin)

Moyle: (Ballycastle, Giant’s Causeway, The Glens)

Newry and Mourne: (Newry Town, Crotlieve, The Fews, Slieve Gullion, The Mournes)

Newtownbbey: (Antrim Line, Ballyclare, MacedonUniversity)

North Down: (Bangor West, Abbey, Ballyholme and Groomsport, Holywood)

Omagh: (Mid Tyrone, Omagh Town, West Tyrone)

Strabane: (Derg, Glenelly, Mourne)

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  • It’s also interesting to look at the weakening of the ‘middle ground’ ie the combined UUP-AP-SDLP seats. This dropped by 47 and a further 53 from 346 in 1997 to 299 in 2001 to 246 in 2005.

    The DUP-SF share went up by 74 from 165 in 1997 to 239 in 2001 and a further 69 to 308 in 2005.

    To all intents and purposes we’ve had and will probably continue to have a DUP-SF dictatorship in the Executive so local government may well continue to deteriorate as local councillors respond to dictats from the respective central and centralising HQs.

  • Michael Shilliday

    Donovan McClelland is an independent? What happened there?

  • Nunoftheabove

    By the look of some of those lamentable lists of runners and riders, all politics is yokel.

  • Sean Og

    Under the Review of Public Administration (RPA) there would now have been only eleven councils, so it is worth bearing in mind that seventeen of this year’s contests come courtesy of DUP Environment Minister, Edwin Poots

    I thought there were 26 Councils. Where did the other 2 come from?

  • John Ó Néill

    Cheers Sean – I’ve updated the text – after linking all 26 and their electoral areas, you’d think I might have noticed…

  • Mr Crumlin

    Michael Shilliday.

    Another ex-SDLP sulk after his wife lost out at the last assembly election. I understand there is no love lost between the McClelland’s and Thomas Burns in south Antrim.

    Thats what I heard but it could be nonsense!

  • Dewi

    Could SF take control of Strabane, Omagh and Magherafelt? From the 2005 starting point one gain in each would win them all.

  • The ebb and flow of Independents is inevitable due to the turmoil and shifting sands of reality.
    DUP, Alliance and SDLP started off in the early 1970s…all in some way as a reaction to the events of the Civil Rights movement. The original six SDLP Stormont MPs included three Independents.
    If we look at the early 1980s we see that many “Independents” were infact proxy Sinn Fein candidates and councillors. People have always circumvented legal restrictions on SF or its own policy on abstention.
    The turmoil has forced people or seemingly forced them into joining parties, leaving parties, joining another party and time as an Independent. Some are serial offenders. The majority of so called Independents that I have come across are deisaffected members of a political party who have merely used their previous association to boost their own ego.
    It maintains their shelf life particuarly at local level. I never understand the analysis that they are people bravely swimming against the tide of political parties and that we would somehow be better off with 108 Independents. I just look on them as a nuisance and I cant actually recall a single occasion when I gave one of them a “preference”.

  • roadnottaken

    Bellarena – SDLP decision to run two, instead of 3, puts SF’s 2 seats at risk, though they’ll be pushing hard to retain them and embarass the SDLP. I think the SDLP might just manage it.
    Cubitt is an independent? Could’ve sworn he was TUV..maybe their not even hardline enough for him! There only are 2 Unionist quotas here, so with the DUP’s inclusion of a second candidate to win back Cubitt’s seat makes it interesting.. could actually allow SF/SDLP two each if it goes wrong. But with the inclusion of George Robinson (moved from the Town ward) it could see the DUP vote merge around him. The Unionist battle here is interesting..could be an innocent move by Robinson, but it’s more likely to be an attack on Cubitt.

    Benbradagh – the DUP are fighting here for the first time since 2001, but considering that hardline elements (UUAP/UUC) have controlled the vote, plus Boyd Douglas’ popularity, and the backing of ex MP Willie Ross, it should be an embarassing day for the DUP. There only is one seat, and that’s Douglas’.
    The SDLP have retreated to just one candidate (sitting councillor Michael Coyle of Dungiven) to save the seat from SF 4 (Donaghy this time round). So no chnage overall, but the percentages will give indications of trends.
    Limavady Town – SF are safe with Anne Brolly, and Mullan is safe for the SDLP (again, just one candidate). The DUP are running 3, the UUP 2. This is a bad move by the UUP. The Altnagelvin decision could have consequences for them here, which is overlooked by the Belfast media as a Derry City issue. The only change here could be the wipeout of UUP representation and DUP control on the Unionist side.

    My prediction for the Council:
    SF – 6 (nc)
    SDLP – 4 (+1)
    DUP – 4 (+1)
    TUV – 1
    UUP – 0 (-2)

  • jeep55

    Not my neck of the wood but please take a look at Benbradagh (= Dungiven area of Limavady DC). In 2005 Sinn Fein had 50% of the vote rendering 3 seats, SDLP had 20% of the vote and 1 seat and the unionists (under UUC) had 30% and 1 seat. This time no UUP candiate is standing but TUV, DUP and Alliance are. SF are standing 4 candidates and this could be their downfall. The TUV have no chance in this predominately Nationalist hinterland, but DUP are pretty certain of 1 seat as are the SDLP. If unionist and any SDLP surplus transfer predominately to Alliance we could have a repeat of the 1989 Genelly ( = Plumbridge) result when Alliance came from very little to take the last seat. No wonder they are campaigning heavily in Dungiven!

  • roadnottaken

    Jeep55 – there is room for Alliance, but they haven;t stood in Limavady district for decades.. standing start for them. SF narrowly missed a fourth last time. If they maintain their vote at the least they’ll be certain of 3. The SDLP vote will naturally transfer largely to SF due to Coyle being from Dungiven. Donaghy, McGlinchey and McCaul (originally the Foreglen) are all from Dungiven. Chivers is Drumsurn so has that to herself. The lack of a second SDLP candidate could actually reduce their overall vote.
    The DUP will take a chunk, but it’s debatable whether or not they’ll do any better than 01. The SDLP 20% is better placed than the Unionist 30% due to SF transfer. Hence, no change.

  • Dewi – good question.

    Strabane, tricky but not impossible. SF need to double the SDLP vote and outbalance the candidate in Glenelly, and hang onto the four seats of so six that they fluked with 50% of the vote in Mourne in 2005. Difficult, but less unlikely than the other two.

    Omagh: requires squeezing a third seat in Omagh Town, where they have tended to underperform in the past; still, there’s always a first time.

    Magherafelt: I think the least likely of the three. Requires a fourth seat in Sperrin, where they have defector problems.

  • “The ebb and flow of Independents”

    fjh, Moyle DC and its predecessors used to have a lot of Independents; the growth in party politics lowered the bar considerably.

    Strange goings on in the Ballycastle town ward: Helen Harding (UUP) was dumped so she’s running as an Independent; Cathal Newcombe (SF) was dumped but, surprisingly, he’s an election agent for his successor and Paudie McShane is running as an Independent after having been first suspended from SF when he was a councillor in the Glens EA and then resigning following some other alleged misdemeanour.

  • jeep55

    OK closer to home and another district which shows the UUP have all but given up the ghost. Castlereagh East – incidently the last local government election to effectively use AV (as there was only one councillor to be elected) on the same day as the general election last year. This is an area which returned 5 DUP, 1 UUP and 1 Alliance in 2005. 5 quotas – that requires 62.5% of the vote but the DUP did get in excess of 57% of the vote and managed their five candidates very well. But the troubles and tribulations of recent times suggested at last year’s by-election that they would be down to 3 seats. Yet UUP only run one while Alliance sensibly run 2. Both TUV and Greens polled well enough in 2010 to be within striking distance of the 12.5% necessary for a seat – but no TUV this time. There are BNP and Conservative/Unionist candidates in the running. My prediction is that DUP will pull back some ground but will lose 1 seat – going to the Alliance second runner – but if they falter any more the Green’s might be in for an unexpected gain. Judith Cochrane must surely be the person most likely (in NI) to retain her council seat – and if she wins an MLA seat it might be the shortest stay ever!

  • Feckitt

    The Fews DEA in Newry & Mourne is an interesting one to watch. In 2005 it was 6 seats, 3 SF, 1SDLP, 1 UUP, 1DUP.
    However, Nationalists got 4.93 quotas and Unionists got 2.07 quotas, so the 2nd unionist seat is under pressure. SF chickened out of going for 4, so it looks like it could be an unlikely SDLP gain. Obviously SF would need to transfer to the SDLP, but i think this could be a rare gain for them.
    They could also gain in the Mournes DEA, which for many years has returned 3 Unionists & 2 Nationalists, however the Nationalist vote is creeping up here, and in 2005 was at 43%. But the biggest factor is that Nationalists have 3 candidates(2sdlp & 1 sf) going for 3 seats whereas Unionists have 6 candidates going for 3 seats, 2 UUP, 2 DUP, 1 TUV, 1 UKIP.

  • Thanks to Martin Gregg’s BT16 newsletter, which everyone near Dundonald seems to like, I would say there is an expected Green gain in Castlereagh East.

  • I think that Martin Gregg is a very likely winner in Casttlreagh. Hard for DUP to do five again and the Alliance have two runners there. Judith Cochrane and Tim Morrow who I am presuming is one of the Morrow Dynasty.
    Id be surprised if AP got two there.

  • vanhelsing

    Firstly well done John for the thread. Undoubtedly the hardest constituency to call is North Down aka Gold Coast where there are a sea of independents running in line with its ‘independent’ nature

    7 Independents

    4 NI Community Partnership – anyone any ideas?

    4 UKIP

    Looks like this is where UKIP are placing their money along with an Assembly candidate. Results last time 2005 : taken from Nicholas’ excellent site

    DUP 8

    Alliance 6


    Inds 2

    Greens 1

    Since then a UUP has gone DUP, Wilson – popular guy [Green] has gone independent, and Parsley has gone over the wall [no offense IJP]. Other changes but too numerous to mention.

    Other aspects to note DUP running 11 candidates, the UUP seem in a few problems [harmony wise] and as I drove through Bangor I have literally never seen so many posters 🙂

    Anyone care to comment?

  • fjh, Tim is Addie’s son and Duncan’s cousin. Addie is a former AP deputy leader and Duncan is the Community Relations Council chief executive.

  • jeep55


    By election result (6th May 2010) for Castlereagh East can be viewed at

    If reapeated votes would equate to seats of DUP 3, Alliance 2, UUP 1 and Greens 1 with the Greens most vulnerable to a DUP 4th.

  • North Down
    I actually have DUP 8. UUP 8 AP 5 Green 1 Ind 2 Cons 1 (Ian Parsley defecting although elected as a AP).
    His seat in Holywood will go AP again or Green might take a seat (not necessarily at AP expense).Im kinda surprised at no SDLP candidate there.
    Mr & Mrs Wilson in Bangor West is interesting but again Id watch the SDLP performance.
    But the other Political couple is Michael and Christine Bower in Abbey and Groomsport.
    Id say Steven Agnew will take a seat in Abbey.
    Im not sure how organised the community candidates are.
    If UUP are having a bad day, DUP will move ahead of them in Bangor.
    Co-Option Watch. As far as I can tell the only co-option was David Alderdice, replaced by Andrew Muir.

    MLAs Peter Weir & Alex Easton are still on Council and standing again both for Groomsport. Leslie Cree seems to be standing down.
    Interestingly Crees Assembly running mate Colin Breen is standing in Groomsport which was Crees DEA.
    That might suggest that the unionist ticket is unbalanced geographically which Gordon Dunne (Hollywood) or McFarland might exploit.

  • vanhelsing


    You’re right I left out the UUP – not intentionally I might add:) Nice analysis I’ll keep my eye on it.

  • Thank you.
    Ive done 12 constituencies and the Councils within them.
    Co-Option Watch is a bit tricky.
    Really a “back of an envelope” job comparing my records from 2005 with the councillors listed on Council Websites. As far as I know Ive spotted bye elections but always difficult to pick out that “Mary Smith” is actually now married and “Mary Jones” or that “Robert Jones” and is actually known as “Bill Jones”.
    And impossible to decide who is a genuine reason for co-option.

  • While I am in the mood and no TV until Friday. …Belfast
    (Victoria) DUP 3, UUP 2, Alliance 2.
    (Pottinger) DUP 3, UUP 1, PUP 1, Alliance 1.
    Defending two seats in Victoria looks a huge task for the UUP and with much-hyped Stephen Warke in the race, it looks like either Jim Rodgers or Ian Adamson might be rejected by voters. They might be saved by the decision of the DUP to only run three candidates. I expect the Alliance seat, held by veteran Máire Hendron to fall to a nationalist (either SDLP or Sinn Féin) and I think the PUP will lose its seat.
    Co-Option Watch. Just one in Victoria (Naomi Long). Three in Pottinger, Reg Empey UUP, Sammy Wilson DUP and David Ervine PUP (his death).

    (Laganbank) SDLP 2, UUP1, Sinn Féin 1, DUP 1.
    (Balmoral) SDLP 2, UUP 2, DUP 1, Alliance 1.
    For convenience the Castlereagh DEAs will be included in East Belfast.
    The UUP seat in Laganbank would have been vulnerable to DUP who are only running one candidate. Clare Bailey’s Assembly campaign might give her a council seat.
    In Balmoral, the Alliance seat is vulnerable and Sinn Féin thru Máirtín ÓMuilleoir are expected to make a gain. The battle between UUP and DUP will be close. Jim Kirkpatrick to lose out.
    Co-Option Watch. Seemingly two high profile in Laganbank. Michael McGimpsey (UUP) and Alex Maskey (Sinn Féin). One in Balmoral (Carmel Hanna SDLP).
    (Oldpark) Sinn Féin 3, DUP 1, SDLP 1, UUP 1.
    (Castle) DUP 2, SDLP 2, Sinn Féin 1, UUP 1.
    For convenience Court DEA is included in the West Belfast analysis and the Newtownabbey wards will be included with South Antrim.
    I am expecting UUP to be wiped out in Oldpark and Castle. DUP gain of at least one seems certain. Sinn Féin is targetting the SDLP second seat in castle but I expect no change on nationalist side.
    Co-Option Watch. An incredible FIVE in Oldpark. Two Sinn Féin including Caral Ní Chuilín. One UUP (Fred Cobain). One SDLP (Alban Maginness). One DUP (Nelson McCausland). Two in Castle. One Sinn Féin and Nigel Dodds (DUP).
    (Upper Falls) Sinn Féin 4, SDLP 1. (Lower Falls) Sinn Féin 5. (Court) DUP 2, UUP1, PUP 1, Independent 1.
    For convenience Court DEA has been included here and Dunmurry Cross DEA has been included in Lagan Valley. On the face of it the nationalist wards show Sinn Féin in an unassailable position but the presence of éirigí in both DEAs and IRSP in Lower Falls will nibble at their percentages. The SDLP will be optimistic about taking back the Lower Falls seat they lost the last time. Young candidate Colin Keenan will benefit from being on the Assembly ticket.
    Court DEA will be interesting. Veteran PUP man Hugh Smyth seems to be in danger as does Independent Loyalist Frank McCoubrey and UUP could also lose out here. This might mean a DUP gain and campaigner Raymond McCord might have a good chance.
    Co-Option Watch. Seemingly SEVEN! Six Sinn Féin (including Paul Maskey and Fra McCann). One DUP (Diane Dodds MEP).

  • John Ó Néill

    FJH – Castle will be an interesting barometer of where the SDLP and SF are at in Belfast. If the SDLP are to have a line drawn in the sand it would be holding both seats here. The electoral area and ward boundaries cuts across the Cavehill and lower Antrim Roads and separates what would seem to be a more coherent organisational base for SF in Newington from the adjoining areas. The leafy residential areas below the Cavehill that mostly fall into this LEA has been an SDLP stronghold. But if SF took two seats in Castle to the SDLPs one, I think the SDLP are still in trouble (in terms of continued erosion of support to SF) since they should have a solid core support and an organisational advantage of sorts. Either way, the relative performances will be worth checking on.

  • IJP

    van Helsing

    I’m always off the wall!


    No harm to you, but what planet is this where Alliance is losing local seats in Belfast versus its 2005 performance?! The Alliance vote is well up everywhere in Belfast since then.

  • True….the biggest barometer in Belfast.
    Specifically on Castle…the differential without looking it up is about 9% but other factors include a small AP vote and Greens not standing. Pat Converys position as mayor probably helps. I think theres still enough clear water between them. And Cathal Mullaghan (I declare an interest) is one of the nicest people I know and will get transfers.
    Theres also Balmoral where SDLP have three high profile candidates and two seats and SF have a celebrity.
    I tend to think of the Lisburn Road as the SDLPs “Islington”.

    The differential between SDLP-SF in Lagan Bank is much the same as in Castle (but 5 seats against 6) and SF is only running one candidate there.
    And as Ive said the clean sweep in Lower Falls for SF is difficult to repeat.
    A lot of barometers.

  • IJP
    No Offence taken.
    Lets start with the fact that Alliance has FOUR seats in Belfast.
    With respect to Danny McGuinness (and hes deserving a lot) he wont take a seat in Upper Falls. No candiate in Lower Falls.
    Nor will there be victories in Court, Oldpark or Castle.
    A look at South Belfast
    Laganbank looks 3:2 for Nationalists. Cathy Curran might well improve from 9% to take a UUP seat if they are in meltdown but I think Clare Baileys profile as Assembly runner makes her at least even with Cathy Curran.
    I declare an interest. I know Clare.
    Have you misunderstood my point on Balmoral?
    Three high profile SDLP runners defending two seats.
    A high profile SF candidate likely to gain a seat.
    DUP almost certain to get one.
    And UUP (probably).
    In a six seater that probably DOES leave Tom Ekins seat “vulnerable”. The SDLP have presumably done their homework
    Id be surprised if any (unattached) analyst disageed.
    Note “vulnerable”.

    Which leaves East Belfast. I have not suggested that AP will lose a seat in Victoria even if they lose Naomi Long from the starting list, they are still good for two.
    The only seat which I expect AP to lose is Máire Hendrons in Pottinger.
    She won the seat in 2005 against the background of the Robert McCartney murder three months previously.
    Alliance had lost the same seat in 2001 to Sinn Féin. It was I think Mervyn Jones.
    In 2005, Máire Hendron got 7.6% of the votes and still won a seat and fair play to her but that was less than half the combined nationalst vote.
    With Niall Ó Donnghaile and Seamas de Faoite there I think thats an uphill task for her.
    On balance I think its a fairly accurate analysis.

  • Sean Og

    On balance I think its a fairly accurate analysis.

    It is.

  • jeep55


    It is six years since the last local government elections and things change. And one of these changes is the profile of the hard working (on the ground) Alliance Party in East Belfast. So please forgive me when I suggest that Marie Hendron, rather than losing a seat, may well be elected on the first count or very soon afterwards. Yes there could be a Sinn Fein gain but not at Alliance’s expense. You seem to be delighting in talking Alliance down to 2 councillors in Belfast. I wonder what odds you would offer me for more than 2?

  • Sean Og

    Marie Hendron had half a quota last time and got elected with nationalist transfers. For her to get elected on the First Count she will need to double her vote. Not impossible but very unlikely.

    There are more Nationalist votes in Pottinger this time round and with the McCarthy issue gone I fully expect Sinn Fein to take a seat with the help of SDLP transfers. If Hendron hasn’t already been elected she won’t have nationalist transfers to rely on.

    For these reasons FJH is right to lable her seat as “vulnerable”.

  • Well actually I go further in the case of Máire Hendron and say she will probably lose (thats my expectation). I describe Tom Ekins seat as “vulnerable”.
    I think the other two Alliance seats are safe.
    I dont think Alliance has a realistic chance of making a gain except possibly (long shot) Laganbank.
    To make it absolutely clear I expect they will lose a seat.
    And Ive made my reasons for so saying absolutely clear.
    “You seem to be delighting in talking Alliance down to 2 councillors in Belfast”.
    Well no Im not talking them down to two and I take no more pleasure in talking them down to THREE than I take in talking Sinn Féin up here or UUP down there, Greens up here, SDLP down there, TUV down there, DUP up there.
    Its how I see it.
    I got Dr Deeney wrong (but I rarely mention it) and maybe Ive got Máire Hendron wrong and about twenty five others from all parties across 26 councils. Incidently Dave Newman (Green) is a person Ive not mentioned and he will nibble at the vote.

  • Newman

    FJH Interested in your analysis of what will happen to Dawn Purves in Assembly election. Tom Ekin I think safe in Balmoral…also think Alliance decent bet for Laganbank.(UUP weak slate) PUP may hold on in Pottinger (Dr John Kyle popular local GP) SF may actually damage SDLP in Balmoral with high profile candidiate. Think UUP biggest losers in Council elections. SDLP roughly same (gain lower Falls possibly loss in Balmoral) Sinn Fein same DUP same.

  • I note you didnt mention Alliance in Pottinger.
    Dawn Purves?
    I think her fate is linked to the fate of others.
    In broad terms theres two DUP safe seats. Arguably three. One AP also safe. And unless East Belfast turns their back on UUP completely theres a probable seat.
    The sixth seat is between Dawn Purvis and Alliance. A year ago I would have said the Alliance Party had the more democratic credentials. This is no longer the case. And surprisingly Dawn Purvis is a good alternative for nationalists. Even for Alliances SF allies there is no point in transferring to AP because AP already have “Justice”.
    Dawns problem is that for many….her split from the PUP came a little too late. Others will perceive that she has blossomed over the past few months notably over the “education” issue.
    Whether she can attract new voters to balance the PUP votes she loses (where do their transfers go anyway) and attract enough transfers across the board. My impression is that she will get elected.
    Deservedly so.

  • jeep55


    You are not far wide of the mark re East Belfast except for one point that you actually make yourself. The third DUP seat is far from safe. It was won in 2007 on a slightly reduced share of the vote over 2003 but with much better vote management. So in fact there are three runners for the last two seats – DUP3, ALL2 and Dawn Purvis, and the fight for the final seat might actually be between the DUP and Purvis. I would like to see her retain her seat but the lack of the party machine may cost her.

  • I think every serious commenter (which excludes most party partisans of course) could probably get five right in every constituency.
    Certainly I cant fault your analysis. And in terms of vote share Id say that
    DUP will get more than 2 quotas …you would probably agree.
    That AP will get more than one…….you would probably agree.
    And UUP on or near a quota….a seat inevitable.
    There is enough “unionist capacity” UUP2, DUP3, TUV, PUP to makea DUP third seat more likely tha not likely.

    The sixth seat, AP have some capacity.
    Clearly Dawn Purvis does too.
    SDLP capacity (transfers)
    SF capacity (transfers).
    And the WP/Socialist minimal transfers
    Theres Green capacity (transfers).

    In 2007 AP required no transfers as Naomi Long was elected on first count. Incidently BEING Naomi Long is probably worth a few votes in itself. Cochrane and Lyttle have to work for it.
    Surprisingly perhaps PUP (Purvis) did as well out of UUP transfers as the DUP.
    The small number of “left” transfers are more likely to break (thru other partie) to Purvis than AP.
    For the rest of the transfers.
    If the Green is eliminated ahead of SF or SDLP……..PUP did as well as SDLP and certainly Purvis is more transfer friendly than the PUP brand she had.
    How would AP do out of Green transfers. Better than Purvis?. Worse?
    SF transfers much more likely to go possibly via SDLP to Purvis. AP might feel joined at the hip to SF but SF dont need them. One AP seat is enough.
    Likewise SDLP have no need to transfer to AP. Id say Purvis will do much better out of Short Strand than Alliance.

  • IJP

    Can I join jeep55 in this “Alliance will win more than 2/3 City Council seats” bet?!

    Speaking from experience on the doorsteps, not bias, Alliance will comfortably win 5.

  • IJP…..of course you can…….just gather up all your dosh and give it to Mr McGrellis who will take it to the local bookmaker.
    You can all claim to have won a fortune on the Belfast result even if very few could actually produce a bookies docket. 😉

  • mourneman68

    Fitzjameshorse1745 – well informed, makes a change to read a person’s views who actually has evidence to back up what he is talking about instead of the usual sectarian rubbish or party minded silo views.

  • Newman


    Appreciate the quality of the analysis much of which I agree with (though the Greens have as much chance of getting elected in Laganbank as the Tories!) Look forward to the post match inquest!