SDLP top poll and DUP drop share in Waterside

Gerard Diver became the first ever nationalist to top the poll in the Waterside on Thursday; the DUP held three seats despite a huge dip in percentage share and the UUP’s Mary Hamilton retained a seat putting 60 per cent on the overall tally for her party.

Mr Diver and his running mate Martin Reilly’s success was the only good news for the SDLP, which had a miserable time generally, haemorraghing five seats in Londonderry, with a huge collapse in The Moor - Creggan and the Bogside - where hardline republicanism now has an equal mandate.

The SDLP's Gerard Diver congratulates the UUP's Mary Hamilton on being elected last night. DER2114MC122

The SDLP's Gerard Diver congratulates the UUP's Mary Hamilton on being elected last night. DER2114MC122

A reduction in the number of seats across Derry and Strabane from 46 to 40 meant losses were inevitable, but it was the SDLP who were the losers, with Sinn Féin maintaining its 10 representatives in Londonderry. The DUP and the UUP also maintained their representation.

In the Waterside the DUP managed to retain three seats but suffered a huge dip in percentage share - from 43 per cent to 28 per cent.

Hilary McClintock, who was the highest polling DUP candidate said: “It’s great to have had the confidence of the people and for them to vote for me as they have done.

“It’s great on my first selection to get 811 first preferences. Unfortunately, as always, the vote for the unionist people has been split so many ways and obviously there will be casualties because of that.”

Mrs McClintock’s running mate David Ramsey, who trailed her by about 300 votes on the first tally, eventually surpassed the Waterside community worker, having attracted the vast bulk of the eliminated Niree McMorris’ transfers.

He said: “I’m delighted that the Waterside electorate have put their confidence in me for the next term of local council.

“I feel we have a strong team and I look forward to using my life experience in business and the community to build confidence in the Waterside area dealing with many issues.

“I have had a great experience working in the constituency office over the past two months and have already dealt with housing, roads, benefits and small business issues. We are all sorry Niree didn’t make it through but we know her good work will continue.”

The UUP retained its seat in the Waterside thanks to a strong poll by Mary Hamilton and an impressive first outing from Julia Kee.

The party’s percentage share rose to 17 per cent, which is the highest level it’s been at since the days of Richard Dallas.

With 1,511 first preferences the UUP came within a quota of the DUP’s 2,499 first preferences.

Mrs Hamilton said: “I’d like to thank my loyal workers that went out and walked the streets and were very successful and my family too.

“We fought a good campaign. We knocked on all the doors and we got a great reception and, I think, that’s what you need to do for people, if they are going to give you a vote, you should go and talk to them.

“And I talk to the people in the Waterside and I do what I’ve always done and look after them because, I feel, that I’m the people’s councillor.”