Alliance off to strong start in Ards and North Down

At the count for Ards and North Down in the Aurora Leisure Centre in Bangor
At the count for Ards and North Down in the Aurora Leisure Centre in Bangor

The Alliance Party have picked up three seats and look to be in a strong position to improve on their representation of seven councillors on Ards and North Down council.

Alliance’s Karen Douglas was the first candidate past the post in council area, elected with 1,346 of first preference votes in Bangor Central.

Mrs Douglas, who was co-opted onto the council three years ago, said her election shows that voters are demanding change.

Also elected in Bangor Central is Stephen Dunlop of the Green Party, who came in thanks to surplus votes transferred from the Alliance candidate.

Three candidates were elected in Newtownards DEA based on first preference votes. They were Independent candidate Jimmy Menagh (2,138), Naomi Armstrong of the DUP (1,232) and Nick Mathison (1,091).

Interestingly veteran councillor Mr Menagh added nearly 700 extra first preference votes from his 2014 tally of 1,464.

After the transfer of surplus votes Stephen McIlveen from the DUP joined them to represent Newtownards.

In Bangor East and Donaghadee the UUP gained its first seat in the council area through Mark Brooks with 1,327 first preference votes.

He was joined in the DEA by Gavin Walker of the Alliance Party with 1,303 first preference votes.

In Ards Peninsula the DUP’s Robert Adair and Joe Boyle of the SDLP were elected on 2,189 and 1,621 first preference votes respectively.

As it stands, of the 10 candidates elected, Alliance has three councillors, DUP has three, while UUP, Green Party, SDLP and Independent candidates have one seat each.

There was a 43.65% turn out in Ards and North Down from the eligible electorate of 116,536.