Election 2022: Doug Beattie in scrap with Alliance to retain his Upper Bann seat

The first count in Upper Bann may have given more hope for UUP leader Doug Beattie than was being mooted by naysayers earlier in the day.

By Philip Bradfield
Saturday, 7th May 2022, 6:28 am
Updated Saturday, 7th May 2022, 5:47 pm

He secured 5,199 first preference votes against a quota of 9,351 but will benefit from his running mate Glenn Barr’s 3,367 votes when he is eliminated.

The UUP will be hoping Mr Beattie can secure enough transfers from Mr Barr and the TUV’s Darrin Foster (4,373) to see him across the line.

However, with Alliance’s Eoin Tennyson outstripping him with 6,400 first preference votes, it could be a close run for the UUP leader.

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Ulster Unionist leader Doug Beattie at count centre at Meadowbank Sports arena in Magherafelt.

Alliance will be hoping to benefit from transfers from the SDLP veteran Dolores Kelly’s 3,645. However sources suggest the bulk of hers will go to Sinn Fein, allowing the UUP leader to take the fifth seat.

The DUP’s Jonathan Buckley came second in the first stage of the poll with 8,869 first preferences, with his running mate Diane Dodds fourth with 6,548. It is expected they will both cross the line with transfers from the UUP and TUV.

Sinn Fein’s John O’Dowd almost met quota with 9,242 on the first count, topping the poll; so it looks likely he will see his running mate Liam Mackle, who has 7,260, home, with the benefit of transfers from the SDLP and potentially Lauren Kendall from the Greens, who secured 459.

UUP candidate Glenn Barr bemoaned the fact that the count was expected to close for the night around 10pm and restart today.

Speaking after the first count he acknowledged that he was to be eliminated, but paid tribute to the team around him.

“I hope my transfers will mainly go to Doug, although sometimes they can go all over the place. But as long as he gets around 2,000 of my transfers I think that should see him deemed elected.”

The question is about where the transfers will go from the SDLP and TUV candidates after they are eliminated, he said.

“I ran a good campaign and I am proud of the team around me and want to say a massive thank you to them all.”

Mr Beattie was hardly seen at the count all day.

Mr Barr agreed that it looks like the DUP and Sinn Fein will take two seats each and that his party leader will battle Alliance’s Eoin Tennyson for the fifth seat.

“It will all go down to the transfers, ultimately where the TUV and SDLP transfers go, but look at the SDLP transfers earlier, most of them were going to Sinn Fein [and not Alliance].”

TUV candidate Darrin Foster was pleased that he has tripled his vote since the last election, but recognised he will be eliminated and is buoyed by the overall TUV performance.

“We have tripled our percentage right across the country. A couple more per cent and we would have quite a few seats.

“People really resonated with the message of getting rid of the protocol. The TUV were the first party to come out and oppose it and people backed us for it.”

He argued that the rise in TUV votes shows that the protocol did matter to voters, despite widespread claims that it was not being raised on the doorsteps.

“It came up quite a few times on the doorsteps for me,” he added.

Turnout was 62.48%.

Results

John O’Dowd (SF) Elected 9,242 16.5%

Jonathan Buckley (DUP) 8,869 15.8%

Liam Mackle (SF) 7,260 12.9%

Diane Dodds (DUP) 6,548 11.7%

Eóin Tennyson (Alliance) 6,440 11.5%

Doug Beattie (UUP) 5,199 9.3%

Darrin Foster (TUV) 4,373 7.8%

Dolores Kelly (SDLP) 3,645 6.5%

Glenn Barr (UUP) 3,367 6.0%

Aidan Gribbin (Aontú) 571 1.0%

Lauren Kendall (Green) 459 0.8%

Glenn Beattie (Heritage Party) 128 0.2%