#LE19 saw the election of 24 Independent councillors, an increase of 9 and an increase that no-one saw coming. So who are the new Independents bloc?
Antrim & Newtownabbey 1 (+1)
Michael Stewart gained a seat in Ballyclare at the expense of the TUV and was elected on the first count just behind the UUP’s Danny Kinahan. A second Independent David Arthurs gained 457 votes in Ballyclare.
Independents received 143 votes in Ballyclare in 2014.
North Down and Ards 3 (+1)
Independents here rose from 2 to 3 with seats secured in Newtownards, Bangor Central and Bangor East & Donaghadee DEAs.
In Newtownards there were no surprises as Jimmy Menagh again topped the poll, this time with 2 quotas’ worth of first preferences – well up on his 2014 FPV.
Bangor Central saw the election of Ray McKimm who took a seat from the Ulster Unionists. This DEA also saw a significant increase in the overall Independent vote with 4 candidates in total running.
Bangor East and Donaghadee saw the return of former DUP councillor Tom Smith as an Independent. Here the UUP were up 1, DUP down 1 and Tom Smith replaces Alan Chambers as the Independent Councillor.
Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon 1 (-)
As you were in the ‘ABC’ council as Paul Berry retains his seat in Cusher.
Belfast City 0 (-)
No Independents were returned here which is the same result as 2014.
Causeway Coast and Glens 1 (-)
The same outcome as in 2014 except that the Independent Padraig McShane has been replaced by Ambrose Laverty in the Glens DEA.
Derry & Strabane 4 (-)
The number of Independents here stayed at 4 but with a change in makeup.
Gary Donnelly was returned in The Moor again hitting quota on the first count as in 2014.
An Independent seat was lost in Ballyarnett due to an improved performance by the SDLP and the election of Aontú’s Anne McCloskey.
Paul Hughes was in the running for a seat in Faughan after he increased his FPV but an improved performance there from Alliance who took a seat took everyone by surprise.
Sean Carr retained the Independent seat in Foyleside beating SF on the last count after PBP put in a much improved performance.
Andy Patton also got over 1/2 a quota in Derg but failed to get elected. In Sperrin a surprise was the election of 2 Strabane Independents. Paul Gallagher will be joined by Raymond Barr.
Fermanagh and Omagh 4 (+3)
Emmett McAleer the anti-gold mining candidate from Greencastle took a seat here from the SDLP. Their former councillor Rosemarie Shields stood for Aontú but didn’t reach the quota on FPV to be in the running.
Bernice Swift retained her seat in Erne West. In Erne East Rosslea surgery campaigner John McCluskey was elected on the first count taking the third SF seat.
In Omagh the 2 SDLP seats were lost to Alliance and Independent (former SDLP) councillor Dr Josephine Deehan.
Lisburn & Castlereagh 0 (-)
No change. No Independents elected.
Mid and East Antrim 3 (+1)
James Henry again topped the poll in Ballymena town but this time he was joined by Rodney Quigley.
In Knockagh Bobby Hadden took a seat from the UUP.
The absence of Ind James Brown’s name on the Carrick Castle DEA list helped secure a gain for Alliance and UUP here at expense of UKIP and Ind.
Mid-Ulster 2 (+1)
Barry Monteith was re-elected in Dungannon. this time he will be joined by Dan Kerr who took a seat from SF in Torrent.
Newry, Mourne and Down 5 (+2)
This is where the largest number of Independents were returned.
Gavin Malone retained Davy Hyland’s seat in Newry coming in above quota.
Crotlieve returned 2 Independents sitting councillor Jarlath Tinnelly and Mark Gibbons formerly of SF. The Independent FPV went from 998 to 2601. This was an IND gain from SDLP.
Cadogan Enright held his seat in Downpatrick.
Henry Reilly retained his seat in The Mournes. Because he is standing as IND rather than UKIP as in 2014 this is registered as an IND gain from UKIP.