DCSIMG

Lisburn and Castlereagh: Merger of DUP strongholds forms power base

Lagan Island Lisburn

Lagan Island Lisburn

The new Lisburn and Castlereagh council area will stretch from the shores of Lough Neagh at Glenavy to Dromara and Dundonald.

Apart from the merger of the two DUP strongholds, the most notable aspect is the transfer of the Twinbrook and Poleglass, overwhelmingly nationalist, housing estates from Lisburn to Belfast – and the loss of the mainly unionist Braniel, Lisnasharragh and Cregagh areas to Belfast from Castlereagh.

When the newly-merged Lisburn and Castlereagh council becomes fully operational in April 2015, it will have its headquarters at Lisburn’s Lagan Valley Island centre.

Both dominant DUP blocks within the existing councils have faced allegations of treating other parties unfairly when it comes to allocating committee positions and ceremonial posts.

In Lisburn, the DUP holds 15 seats with four each for the UUP and Sinn Fein. Alliance and SDLP have three councillors each with one independent.

Lisburn councillor Arder Carson of Sinn Fein had complained his party had been “denied any formal positions” for this year, while the DUP “have awarded themselves 10 out of the 12 official council positions”.

Sinn Fein councillors were first voted onto Lisburn council in 1985 and since then the party has only ever chaired two council committees – both in recent years.

Speaking to the Ulster Star last year, councillor Carson had said the he believed his party would have been entitled to a committee chair and vice chair position, as well as one year as mayor, had the d’Hondt selection system been in operation.

Lisburn Alliance MLA Trevor Lunn said his party’s representatives have fared better on Lisburn council than their counterparts in Castlereagh.

“In Lisburn generally down the years, I think we got our fair crack of the whip most of the time,” he said.

“Castlereagh is a completely different. DUP dominance in Castlereagh means exactly that, where they like to dominate everything.”

He also added that he believes there is a “slightly different culture in the two councils that might need to be sorted out”

However, on the question of just what this huge shake-up of local government will mean for most residents, Mr Lunn added: “As long as the services are right, and [voters] can see the council being run in an efficient and fair manner, that’s what people want.

“I hope that neither council attempts to put through a massive capital outlay in advance of the two councils coming together.”

Alliance has six seats on Castlereagh council compared to the DUP’s 11.

The other six seats are held by the UUP (3), SDLP (2) and the Greens (1).

Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson refused to be drawn on the number of councillors his party hopes to have in Lisburn and Castlereagh after this week’s election.

However, the DUP representative said they were confident the party would maintain its dominance.

“Obviously the greater change has occurred at the Castlereagh end with a large proportion of Castlereagh moving to Belfast, but we believe that it will be unionist controlled and that the DUP will be the largest party on the council.

“We are not going to be drawn at this stage on how many seats we expect to win, but we believe that the DUP will be a very strong voice on the new council,” said Mr Donaldson.

Your candidates:

CASTLEREAGH EAST:

Robert Campbell (Independent)

Mark Devenney (NI21)

Stephen Donnan (Alliance)

David Drysdale (DUP)

Izzy Giles (PUP)

Andrew Girvin (TUV)

Martin Gregg (Green)

Tommy Jeffers (DUP)

Hazel Legge (UUP)

Tim Morrow (Alliance)

Sharon Skillen (DUP)

Lynda Spratt (DUP)

Sandra Wilson (Independent)

CASTLEREAGH SOUTH:

Nathan Anderson (DUP)

Wallace Douglas (TUV)

John Gallen (SDLP)

Brian Hanvey (SDLP)

Michael Henderson (UUP)

Vasundhara Kamble (Alliance)

Ben Mallon (DUP)

Elizabeth McCord (NI21)

Adam Murray (NI21)

Vikki Nelson (DUP)

Geraldine Rice (All)

Nuala Toman (SF)

DOWNSHIRE EAST:

James Baird (UUP)

Christina Dobson (NI21)

Janet Gray (DUP)

Peter Lindsay (UKIP)

Uel Mackin (DUP)

Tom Mateer (TUV)

Aaron McIntyre (Alliance)

Luke Poots (DUP)

Alex Swan (UUP)

Glenn Wilson (NI21)

Roy Young (DUP)

DOWNSHIRE WEST:

Jim Dillon (UUP)

Roger Duncan (NI21)

Allan Ewart (DUP)

Dee French (SDLP)

Owen Gawith (Alliance)

Neil Johnston (NI Conservatives)

Rebecca McBride (UKIP)

Neil McNickle (NI21)

Jonny Miller (TUV)

John Palmer (DUP)

Colin Preen (DUP)

Alexander Redpath (UUP)

Luke Robinson (Green)

KILLULTAGH:

Thomas Beckett (DUP)

Robbie Butler (UUP)

Patrick Catney (SDLP)

David Honeyford (NI21)

William Leathem (DUP)

Jonnie McCrea (Alliance)

Mary Kate Quinn (SF)

James Tinsley (DUP)

LISBURN NORTH:

Brian Bloomfield (UUP)

Matt Brennan (PUP)

Scott Carson (DUP)

Yvonne Craig (DUP)

Alan Love (UKIP)

Stephen Martin (Alliance)

John McCall (TUV)

Johnny McCarthy (NI21)

Colin McCord (NI21)

Jacqui McGeough (SF)

Jonny Orr (Independent)

Jenny Palmer (DUP)

Margaret Tolerton (DUP)

Nicola Turtle (SDLP)

LISBURN SOUTH:

David Cairns (NI21)

Alan Carlisle (DUP)

Andrew Doran (NI21)

Andrew Ewing (DUP)

Alan Givan (DUP)

Amanda Grehan (Alliance)

James McMurray (Green)

Tim Mitchell (UUP)

Andrew Moore (TUV)

Paul Porter (DUP)

Conor Quinn (SDLP)

Rhoda Walker (DUP)

 

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