Former council worker is top in Newry

Former council worker is top in Newry

8 May 2019

A FORMER Newry, Mourne and Down Council worker confounded the pundits by topping the poll in Newry.

Gavin Malone — who quit his job with the local authority to contest the election — was endorsed by outgoing Independent councillor Davy Hyland, a former Sinn Fein politician.

Malone and his supporters could not contain their delight when he was elected on the first count with 2,296 first preference votes, 881 above the quota. 

Hyland was the first to congratulate his successor who subsequently threw his arms around a BBC television journalist seconds after her interview with him concluded in the early hours.

The results from Newry were impressive from a Sinn Fein and SDLP point of view.

Sinn Fein’s Liz Kimmins, who recently welcomed a new addition to the family, polled 1,374 first preference votes which subsequently helped her over the line, with party colleague Valerie Harte securing 1,045 votes.

Veteran Charlie Casey secured Sinn Fein’s third seat, polling 1,230 votes, with the nine candidates amassing almost 10,000 votes between them.

The SDLP’s Michael Savage polled 1,231 first preference votes and similar to the speculation surrounding Sinn Fein’s Mickey Ruane in Crotlieve, there was a suggestion that the council’s SDLP group leader, Gary Stokes, would potentially lose his seat.

Stokes, who polled 878 first preference votes, was just 157 votes ahead of Alliance’s Helena Young.

Alliance did not field a candidate in Newry in 2014 and with party officials hoping Young would secure enough transfers to overhaul Stokes, it was the SDLP man who got the votes he needed to secure the sixth and final seat.

In terms of party share, Sinn Fein secured almost 45% of the vote with the remainder shared between Independent Malone (23.2%), the SDLP (21.3%), Alliance (7.3%) and the UUP (3.4%).