“It’s a good day for PR” said NI21’s Johnny McCarthy, elected to Lisburn & Castlereagh Council

After a week in which NI’s newest political vehicle seemed to veer into a ditch, NI21’s council candidate Johnny McCarthy in Lisburn North DEA won a seat and depriving the DUP of a 21st representative in the 40 seat council.

Johnny McCarthy NI21It was a shock since everyone had written off his chances earlier in the day.

After yesterday’s nail-biting 20 vote finish between Alliance’s Aaron Mcintyre and NI21’s Christina Dobson in Downshire East, all eyes had been on David Cairns with a couple of parties predicting he’d edge home ahead of Alliance’s Amanda Grehan in Lisburn South. That wasn’t to be. But transfers from eliminated SDLP and UKIP candidates  eventually put him over the line.

Interviewed this afternoon, Johnny said “it’s a great day for PR!” I think he was referring to Proportional Representation … rather than Public Relations! You can also hear him speak at NI21’s candidate launch on 23 April.

The first representative elected under the NI21 banner. Will he ultimately be the last? Fellow candidates seem to feel there are a few more miles left in the NI21 vehicle yet. It’s bigger than Basil they said. They’ve no interest in joining Alliance. Time will tell.

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  • Charles_Gould

    Great guy – like him a lot.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Too much coverage has been given to this former party, how about a mention for TUV? Some on Slugger predicted they would win zero seats but……

  • Charles_Gould

    Joe – I predicted both the UUP and TUV success and the slide in SF vote share.

  • Morpheus

    Considering everything that has happened NI21 are approaching 11.5k votes, just behind the seasoned PUP and it’s captive audience, which I think is pretty commendable. Can’t help but wonder where they may have been if the past week hadn’t happen.

  • Red Lion

    Congratulations to Jonny McCarthy, he epitomizes what NI21 are about for all those who voted for them and for the candidates who put themselves u.

    Jonny McCarthy will serve as a rallying point to other disillusioned candidates and grassroots at this time. His election will prove vital as the grassroots start now to remember why they joined in the first place, and shape the party for themselves. A party full of unknowns sounds very attractive to me in the first instance, really throwing off all baggage. Shrink to grow.

  • mjh

    Red Lion.

    In the immediate aftermath of such total disappointment your attitude of “pick yourself, dust yourself down and start again” is highly commendable. Far better than walking away from politics altogether.

    But a “shrink to grow” strategy is doomed to failure. It didn’t work for Republican Clubs/ The Workers Party who are still with us – and still without a seat. It did not work for UPNI, or the UKUP, or the UPUP, or the Ulster Libs, or NILP, or the Women’s Coalition, or numerous others – all of whom soldiered on for short while after near wipe-out before calling it a day.

    It is a little soon, but before too long, NI21 people will have to decide how best they can forward their agenda now that their preferred option is no longer available.

    Please don’t waste that talent, energy, enthusiasm and commitment on a dead end. You will have learnt a lot from your experience. Take it and use it where you, either as a group or individually, believe you can best promote your ideals.

  • Red Lion

    MJH- ‘now that their preferrd option is no longer available’. That’s my point NI21 grassroots can preserve and grow their preferred option through regrouping and reorganisating the NI21 vehicle. It has to go on and as far as I’m aware many have stated they don’t feel like they have any other political home.

    Re shrink to grow. What I mean here is that NI21 are still very much in the dark re the twists and turns of last few days. An investigation must be gone through and only then can judgements be made. Despite this, if it comes to be that NI21 should select a new leadership and executive all of whom are near-unknown in public life, then there is attractions in that. It can be a grassroots-led movement, get its organisation, policy and internal governance right, and it can set itself realistic targets. Sure, it loses the finances from MLA-ship but that focuses minds, resources and voluntary contributors.

    People came together because of a belief in the NI21 message, and stripping back to fundamentals is what can carry NI21 forward. Jonny McCarthy personifies that fundamental imo.

  • David Crookes

    Agreed, Red Lion. Getting rid of BMcC and JMcC will make NI21 a genuinely new party. If Tina McKenzie can be persuaded to come out of retirement, the party will be able to start building again. I’m delighted that Mr McCarthy got in.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Shrink to grow appears to be working for the UUP, funny enough as a result of losing the same two individuals! If Tina’s vote is reasonable tomorrow then bring her back, but I think that is unlikely and she is part of the prblem now. Fresh start Fresh politics was never possible with a leader who has so much baggage, did people not get the hint when virtually no-one defected with him.

  • ForkHandles

    Well done Johnny McCarthy ! Go on and speak your mind and ignore anything the established NI parties have to say. You know it will be predictable and the usual tricks. Just ignore it and go with what you really think.

    Well done !