Dissident tops poll in Derry district

Dissident tops poll in Derry district

A prominent dissident republican has been elected in Derry and Strabane.

Gary Donnelly, who is linked to the 32 County Sovereignty Movement, performed strongly in the Moor district electoral area, topping the poll with 1,154 first preference votes.A total of four Independent candidates have been elected in the new council, but it will remain to be seen whether Mr Donnelly's success encourages dissidents to move in greater numbers into the democratic process and what that could mean for politics in Northern Ireland.Sinn Féin emerged as the largest party in Derry and Strabane after taking 36.1% of the first preference vote and seeing 16 of their candidates elected.The area has been an SDLP stronghold for two generations but the party came second this year, with 10 seats.Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness hailed the local Government election as a "historic" result for Sinn Féin as they completed their long-held objective of seizing control from the SDLP in the area.He told UTV: "It's a little bit of republican history in the city."Sinn Féin has never been the largest political party in the city until now and that is a tremendous achievement and a credit to our activists and elected representatives."SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell said it was to be expected as a result of boundary changes.He continued: "Sinn Féin has a dominance in Strabane and when you take Strabane into the Derry area of course they were going to tally up."In the previous situation was a fairly even balance and with Strabane added Sinn Féin are gaining the edge. There was an acceptance that Sinn Féin would be ahead by a seat or two."Meanwhile the turnout was high in Fermanagh and Omagh with 61.2% of the 80,885-strong electorate casting their vote to elect 40 councillors to the area's new super council.Sinn Féin took the highest percentage of first preference votes and 17 seats. The UUP took nine seats, the SDLP took eight, DUP took five, and there is one Independent.In the Mid Ulster super council Sinn Féin were the big winners, with 41% of the first preference vote, topping four of the area's seven councils and electing 18 councillors.The DUP led the way in the Causeway Coast and Glens taking 11 seats, while the UUP took 10 and Sinn Féin claimed seven. The TUV took three seats in the council.Check UTV's Vote14 site for full details on elected councillors in the North West.

© UTV

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