Election 2023: Lisburn and Castlereagh remains a 'strong base' for DUP, says party leader

Early DUP success in Lisburn and Castlereagh shows the party still has a “strong base” in that electoral area, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has said.
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Thomas Beckett, Jonathan Craig and Andrew Ewing all reached the quota in the first round of counting, along with two Sinn Fein and two Alliance candidates.

“The DUP vote is holding up,” Sir Jeffrey said.

"We have three councillors elected and are on course to consolidate our position.

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson (right) with Brian Higginson who was elected to represent Castlereagh SouthDUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson (right) with Brian Higginson who was elected to represent Castlereagh South
DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson (right) with Brian Higginson who was elected to represent Castlereagh South
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"Lisburn and Castlereagh remains a very strong base for the DUP,” the Lagan Valley MP added.

In the early stages of the vote counting process, Sir Jeffrey said the indications were that Alliance were “polling well” and look set to take seats at the expense of the UUP, with Sinn Fein also polling well and on course to take seats from the SDLP.

Amanda Grehan and Claire Kemp were elected on the first count for Allliance, while Gary McCleave and Paul Burke were returned for Sinn Fein to represent Killultagh and Lisburn North respectively.

Another early success for Alliance was the return of deputy mayor MIchelle Guy (Castlereagh South) to the council with 1452 first preference votes. Party colleague Peter Kennedy was also elected to represent Lisburn South.

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson (right) congratulating Cllr Andrew Ewing (centre) and Cllr Jonathan Craig who have both been elected in LCCC.DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson (right) congratulating Cllr Andrew Ewing (centre) and Cllr Jonathan Craig who have both been elected in LCCC.
DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson (right) congratulating Cllr Andrew Ewing (centre) and Cllr Jonathan Craig who have both been elected in LCCC.
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As the count reached its half-way point, the election of DUP candidates James Tinsley, Alan Givan and Brian Higginson was also confirmed.

While the DUP was largely jubilant at the early success, there was a shock when the current mayor Scott Carson was eliminated, despite polling more than 1,000 first preference votes.

Former mayor Stephen Martin (Alliance) was also eliminate in the same stage of counting in Lisburn North.

The successful candidates in Lisburn North were: Paul Burke (SF); Jonathan Craig (DUP); Nicola Parker (All); Pat Catney (SDLP); Nicholas Trimble (UUP), and Gary Hynds (Independent).

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DUP councillor James Tinsley was also re-elected to represent the Killultagh DEA.

Cllr Tinsley now enters his 24th year as an elected representative.

Speaking to the News Letter, he said: “I am delighted to be re-elected by the people of Killultagh who took the time to come out to vote for me number one, or even transferred to me down the line – and relieved to be standing her being declared elected for another term.

"At the minute I am the longest-serving councillor [on LCCC). I’m still feeling very young.”

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Asked if he still had plenty more to give, Cllr Tinsley said: “If the Lord gives me strength and wisdom, I will do that in his walk.”

Commenting on his main priorities for the next term, he said: “Just continue working hard, but there’s still a lot more to do.

"I will continue, with my strong team behind me to deliver more for the people of Killultagh.”

Following confirmation of his own re-election representing Lisburn South, Alan Givan, father of MLA Paul Givan, reflected on a period in the Royal Victoria Hospital three years ago, and how he didn’t expect at that point to be serving another term.

However, he said he was very grateful to be standing on the platform, and added: “You never know how these things go”.