“I think it’s a poor commentary on people that they’re so readily voting for those who tell us there was no alternative to the murder of our kith and kin, it’s a very sobering, staggering thing to say”.
It was a record day for Sinn Fein across the polls as they broke their own record for seats.
TUV leader Jim Allister said, “I think it’s a poor commentary on people that they’re so readily voting for those who tell us there was no alternative to the murder of our kith and kin, it’s a very sobering, staggering thing to say”.
The TUV themselves saw success in the area, as Jonathan McCauley was voted in for the Ballymoney DEA. Jonathan said he was “absolutely delighted to have taken the seat back in Causeway Coast and Glens Council. We lost our candidate in 2019. I’m absolutely delighted to have gained that seat again”.
As the day wore on, several different of the more popular politicians made their way to Coleraine. The DUP’s Mervyn Storey, a former MLA, was ‘relieved’ to have won back his seat in Ballymoney as he topped the polls. “That’s one election out of the way, now we have to get at the work that needs to be done in terms of representation on the council”.
Storey also gave his thoughts on Sinn Fein’s majority turnout in the area. “At the end of the day that is an issue for the nationalist community, who have come out and endorsed that party with their endorsement. For us as unionists, we have to ensure that we continue to deliver on the basis of what we said needed to be done and that is, no return to Stormont until we have a protocol put where it has to be and that is in the bin”. It seemed that national agendas were still set with national problems for certain candidates.
The lack of endorsement for unionism was backed by MP Ian Paisley. Paisley said “The unionist turnout in particular has been extremely low. There is a great concern within unionism, and we have got to address that”.
The lack of support for unionism also played into the heavy increase in Sinn Fein seats “I think when you have more nationalists turning out within a low poll it’s bound to happen, and I think it’s up to us to win that back”.
Despite better overall support for unionist parties, nationalist parties still saw continued strong support throughout the day. Leanne Peacock was re-elected for Sinn Fein in Ballymoney. Leanne reiterated just how strong the Sinn Fein vote has been throughout Northern Ireland. “The Sinn Fein vote has been phenomenal right across the north, so I’m delighted to be elected again in the Ballymoney DEA”. “The electorate has spoken, and they have backed a party who works for all”.
With the rise in Sinn Fein, support for unionism took a tumble. The Ulster Unionist Party’s votes fell significantly. Party member Robin Swann declined to comment when asked.