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Election drama as sitting councillor loses out in Armagh – another wins by 1.84 votes

Local ABC Council election count

It was a night of high drama with agony and ecstasy for two sitting ABC councillors.

Ulster Unionist Gordon Kennedy squeezed past first-time DUP candidate Quincey Dougan to take the final Cusher seat by the finest of fine margins – just 1.84 votes.

Councillor Kennedy described it as a “hair-raising experience, for what little hair I have left!”

There was a recount earlier in the night, with the Cusher man having trailed for most of the counts.

In the Armagh count, which began in the early hours of this morning, the DUP’s long-standing candidate Freda Donnelly missed out as Sinn Fein took an extra seat through Jackie Donnelly – taking the party to three sitting councillors in Armagh.

As in 2014, Sinn Fein’s Garath Keating topped the polls here with 2,037 first preference votes. Ulster Unionist Sam Nicholson followed behind with 1,697.

Jackie Donnelly polled just 20 less than that at 1,677, while Freda Donnelly hit 1,638. Despite the high first preference vote for the DUP woman, transfers were less kind.

Sinn Fein’s Darren McNally tallied 1,413 with SDLP’s Thomas O’Hanlon hitting 1,491. Both were elected without meeting quota of 1,818, as was Sam Nicholson.

Mealla Campbell was elected at the fifth count after a strong showing. Alliance increased their first preference votes through first-time candidate Jackie Coade while Aontu’s Martin Kelly polled 822 votes.

Elsewhere, in Banbridge – another count through the night – there was a gain for Alliance at the expense of the SDLP.

Brian Pope took the final seat of the night, unseating sitting long-standing councillor Seamus Doyle.

The SDLP man had represented the Banbridge district for the last 30 years and even increased his first preference votes from 970 to over 1300.

In the end it was another case of fine margins, having lost the by 16 votes.

It was another good result for Alliance in Lagan River as Eoin Tennyson gained a seat at the expense of the Ulster Unionist candidate Olive Mercer.

DUP held their three seats with new-boy Tim McClelland becoming a fresh face on the ABC Council, as will be the UUP’s Kyle Savage, who was elected earlier in the day.

In Lurgan, three Sinn Fein candidates were returned in Keith Haughian, Liam Mackle and newcomer Sorcha McGeown.

Stephen Moutray returned his seat for the DUP, while Louise McKinstry is a new face on Council for the Ulster Unionists.

Joe Nelson also returns for the SDLP but it was another positive gain for the Alliance with Peter Lavery taking a seat from the DUP’s sitting councillor Terry McWilliams.

Here’s how the overall ABC Council has changed, and the new councillors below.


Garath Keating, Sinn Féin

Jackie Donnelly, Sinn Féin

Mealla Campbell, SDLP

Darren McNally, Sinn Féin

Sam Nicholson, UUP

Thomas O’Hanlon, SDLP


Glenn Barr, UUP

Paul Greenfield, DUP

Ian Burns, UUP

Kevin Savage, Sinn Féin

Jill Macauley, UUP

Junior McCrum, DUP

Brian Pope, Alliance


Catherine Nelson, Sinn Féin

Thomas Larkham, SDLP

Declan McAlinden, SDLP

Margaret Tinsley, DUP

Kenneth Twyble, UUP


Paul Berry, Independent

Brona Haughey, Sinn Fein

Gordon Kennedy, UUP

Jim Speers, UUP

Gareth Wilson, DUP


Mark Baxter, DUP

Tim McClelland, DUP

Paul Rankin, DUP

Kyle Savage, UUP

Eoin Tennyson, Alliance


Keith Haughian, Sinn Féin

Louise McKinstry, UUP

Liam Mackle, Sinn Féin

Joe Nelson, SDLP

Peter Lavery, Alliance

Sorchá McGeown, Sinn Féin

Stephen Moutray, DUP


Sydney Anderson, DUP

Darryn Causby, DUP

Paul Duffy, Sinn Féin

Julie Flaherty, UUP

Lavelle McIlwrath, DUP

Eamon McNeill, SDLP

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