Causeway Coast and Glens: Unionist scrap over final seat in nationalist stronghold

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Almost a quarter of the available seats on Causeway Coast and Glens Council have been filled so far as counting continues on the north coast.

The first candidate to be returned was former post office clerk Ambrose Laverty, who topped the poll in the Glens, a largely nationalist bastion. The Ballycastle man narrowly missed out on a seat at the last election back in 2014.

DUP MLA Mervyn Storey (right) congratulates party colleague John Finlay on holding on to his seat in Causeway Coast and Glens Council

DUP MLA Mervyn Storey (right) congratulates party colleague John Finlay on holding on to his seat in Causeway Coast and Glens Council

Sinn Fein have taken two seats in the Glens, with Cara McShane and Oliver McMullan both polling well. SDLP candidate Margaret-Anne McKillop also passed the quota and has been deemed elected.

The last seat in the Glens is still all to play for and will come down to a dog fight between two unionist candidates - the DUP’s Bill Kennedy and Joan Baird of the UUP.

Meanwhile, in the unionist stronghold of Ballymoney, both the DUP and UUP have improved their share of the vote.

Ulster Unionist Darryl Wilson topped the poll after taking almost double the number of first preference votes he achieved five years ago (1,420 this time compared with 754 in 2014).

DUP candidate John Finlay was also elected on the first count, securing 1,322 first preferences (an increase of around 250).

Sinn Fein held on to its seat in Ballymoney, with candidate Leanne Peacoc polling well with 1,153 votes.

In Coleraine, there was a repeat of the 2014 election as Russell Watton of the PUP once again topped the poll and held on to his seat, with an excellent showing of 1,325 first preference votes.