- Northern Ireland local government elections, 1985
Northern Ireland 1973–98
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Politics and government of
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The previous elections had been fought in the middle of the hunger strike and the H-Block Prison Protest. Those elections had shown changes in party representation, with three parties, namely the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), winning 75% of the seats. On the Unionist side, the DUP arrived at a position of near parity with the UUP, outpolling the latter by 851 votes, although the UUP managed to win more seats overall. Other changes on the Unionist side saw the disbandment of two smaller Unionist parties: the Unionist Party of Northern Ireland in September 1981 and the United Ulster Unionist Party in May 1984. On the nationalist side, while the SDLP maintained its dominant position, a greater number of elected candidates supporting the H-Block protest were elected. In total 36 candidates endorsed by the H-Block committee were elected of whom 21 belonged to the IIP. The representation of the centrist APNI was almost halved as their number of seats was reduced from 70 in 1977 to 38 in 1981.
Northern Ireland Assembly and New Ireland Forum
Following the end of the Hunger Strike, attention focused on attempts by the new Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Jim Prior, to restore devolution. This eventually led to the establishment of the Northern Ireland Assembly which was elected in October 1982. However nationalist parties boycotted the forum and the SDLP instead threw its efforts into the New Ireland Forum. This forum, established in May 1983, reported in May 1984 and represented the combined efforts of the nationalist parties to obtain a solution to the constitutional issue. However the report was rejected by British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who rejected each of the three proposals with the words “that is out” in a response that became known as the "out, out, out" speech.
The entry into electoral politics of Sinn Féin (SF) became a significant issue in the run up to the elections. SF polled over 10% in the 1982 Assembly election, winning five seats. At the 1983 Westminster election, the party increased their vote share to 13.4% and maintained that level of support in the 1984 European election. The party won their first council seat in a by-election in March 1983, with Seamus Kerr polling 60% in Omagh ‘Area D’ This was followed by the election of Alex Maskey and Sean McKnight to Belfast City Council in June 1983 and February 1984 respectively. In Dungannon and Fermanagh, independent councillors Seamus Cassidy and John Joe McCusker joined SF.
The expansion of services, particularly leisure began to have an impact in rates at a time when the Rate Support Grant was being cut. The grant was reduced by 1% in 1985. Belfast Leisure Services in particular accounted for 22.7% of the City budget. Rates overall had risen by 8% in the financial year from 1984 to 1985, a figure above the rate of inflation and resulted in the cancellation of a proposed ice rink in Belfast, while that in Bangor had to receive private funding. Since the 1980–1981 financial year, rates had risen by 51.7% ranging from a 17.9% rise in Castlereagh to 80% rises in Omagh and Newry and Mourne.
The Local Government (N.I.) Act 1972, Section 50 (1) required a review of local government boundaries and electoral areas in 1981, however it was not until 28 October 1982 that Prior reappointed Sir F. Harrison, who had conducted the previous review in 1971 and 1972. Provisional recommendations were published on 20 May 1983. These led to additional representations and nineteen public hearings before revised recommendations were published on 18 January 1984. Following six further public hearings, the final report was sent to the Secretary of State on 29 May 1984.
The report recommended no change in the number of councils or their names. The number of wards was increased from 526 to 566. Moyle was the only council to lose a ward.
With the wards drawn the government decided that a new procedure would be used to group them together to form District Electoral Areas (DEA). In 1972 the wards had been grouped together into areas of four to eight wards with each area electing a number of councillors equal to the number of wards that it contained. This had been done by the Chief Electoral Officer, a fact that had been criticised for potentially affecting his impartiality.
The District Electoral Areas Commissioner (N.I.) Order was laid before Parliament on 15 December 1983. This provided for the appointment of a commissioner and set him the task of creating electoral areas containing five to seven members. These were to have names rather than an alphabetic designation as before. The debate over the Order in January and February 1984 centred on the merits of STV, the narrower number of councillors in each DEA and the names issue. Unionists argued for DEAs electing four to six councillors.
Party Councillors Votes Total +/- % share Total Ulster Unionist 189 +37 29.5 188,497 Democratic Unionist 142 0 24.3 155,297 SDLP 102 -2 17.8 113,967 Sinn Féin 59 N/A 11.8 75,686 Alliance 34 -4 7.0 45,038 Independent 9 -28 1.6 10,297 Independent Unionist 8 +6 1.3 8,780 Independent Nationalist 6 +6 1.2 7,597 Workers' Party 4 +1 1.6 10,415 Irish Independence 4 -17 1.2 7,459 Ulster Popular Unionist 3 -2 0.5 3,139 Progressive Unionist 2 +1 0.6 3,612 Protestant Unionist 1 +1 0.5 2,970 Labour (NI) 1 0 0.2 1,285 Labour Party NI 0 N/A 0.2 1,029 Newtownabbey Labour 1 0 0.1 792 Ulster Democratic 0 N/A 0.1 782 Labour and Trade Union 0 N/A 0.1 556 Independent Democratic Unionist 0 N/A 0.1 429 Ecology 0 0 0.1 387 Irish Republican Socialist 0 -2 0.0 276 Communist Party 0 0 0.0 245 All Night Party 0 N/A 0.0 235 Independent Republican 0 0 0.0 187 People's Democracy 0 -2 0.0 131 Independent Workers' Party 0 N/A 0.0 113 Liberal 0 N/A 0.0 35 Independent Labour 0 -1 0.0 30
Court Party Candidate 1st Pref Independent Unionist George Seawright 2,970 Progressive Unionist Hugh Smyth 1,761 Democratic Unionist Ted Ashby 1,420 Ulster Unionist Herbert Ditty 1,197 Independent Unionist Joe Coggle 894 Ulster Unionist Fred Cobain 804 Alliance W. J. Dukelow 626 Ulster Unionist J. B. Sands 624 Democratic Unionist W. Baxter 572 Ulster Democratic S. Doyle 536 Sinn Féin H. Fitzsimmons 432 Democratic Unionist R. Morrow 182 Workers' Party Peter Cullen 157 Turnout 12,547 New area Pottinger Party Candidate 1st Pref Democratic Unionist Sammy Wilson 2,454 Democratic Unionist F. Leslie 2,224 Ulster Unionist Margaret Clarke 1,999 Democratic Unionist Jim Walker 1,153 Ulster Unionist Reg Empey 1,117 Alliance Mervyn Jones 1,019 Sinn Féin Joe O'Donnell 566 Ulster Unionist H. Fletcher 431 Progressive Unionist David Ervine 394 SDLP C. Maginnis 340 Workers' Party Frank Cullen 303 Labour and Trade Union S. J. Dempsey 218 Communist Party J. Stewart 61 Turnout 12,785 New area Victoria Party Candidate 1st Pref Democratic Unionist Wallace Browne 3,447 Ulster Unionist Tommy Patton 2,390 Alliance Oliver Napier 2,309 Ulster Unionist William Corry 1,838 Ulster Unionist Dorothy Dunlop 1,365 Alliance G. P. C. Thompson 1,278 Democratic Unionist S. J. Walker 1,131 Ulster Unionist J. McCrea 1,002 Democratic Unionist Robin Newton 564 SDLP M. F. Gilheany 188 Turnout 15,939 New area Balmoral Party Candidate 1st Pref Ulster Unionist Margaret Crooks 2,438 Ulster Unionist Jim Kirkpatrick 1,820 Democratic Unionist Billy Dickson 1,638 SDLP Dorita Field 1,332 Alliance John Montgomery 1,326 Ulster Unionist James Stewart 1,071 Alliance David Cook 1,042 Democratic Unionist Joan Parkes 998 Democratic Unionist C. K. Gibson 620 Labour Party NI S. S. Graham 186 Workers' Party Shaun McKeown 133 Independent Victor Brennan 127 Independent Unionist W. S. Stevenson 56 Turnout 13,102 New area Castle Party Candidate 1st Pref Ulster Unionist John Carson 3,153 SDLP Alban Maginness 1,977 Independent Unionist Frank Millar 1,623 Democratic Unionist Nigel Dodds 1,502 Ulster Unionist Alfie Redpath 1,107 Alliance Tom Campbell 799 Democratic Unionist M. Whittley 706 Independent Unionist William Gault 674 SDLP J. G. Murphy 579 Alliance R. O. Jamison 449 Workers' Party K. Johnston 444 Turnout 13,391 New area Oldpark Party Candidate 1st Pref Ulster Unionist Fred Proctor 1,800 Sinn Féin B. Laverty 1,752 Sinn Féin Gerard McGuigan 1,570 SDLP Brian Feeney 1,516 Workers' Party Seamus Lynch 1,344 Democratic Unionist P. M. Lunn 958 SDLP P. Hunter 787 Sinn Féin Paddy McManus 774 Independent Unionist Nelson McCausland 717 Ulster Unionist D. Smylie 707 Democratic Unionist P. Whittley 604 Alliance A. J. Carton 535 Labour Party NI Paddy Devlin 472 Progressive Unionist P. J. Bird 433 Ecology Peter Emerson 308 Turnout 14,748 New area Laganbank Party Candidate 1st Pref Ulster Unionist B. Blair 1,969 Alliance W. F. McDowell 1,425 Democratic Unionist Rhonda Paisley 1,325 SDLP Alasdair McDonnell 1,175 Democratic Unionist R. S. McCrea 1,102 SDLP G. McGettrick 833 Ulster Unionist J. J. Dixon Gilmore 727 Sinn Féin M. Conlon 614 Ulster Unionist R. J. Wilson 604 Workers' Party G. Carr 550 Alliance Dan McGuinness 434 Labour and Trade Union R. G. Millar 100 Labour (NI) J. King 73 Communist Party M. J. Morrissey 57 Turnout 11,285 New area Upper Falls Party Candidate 1st Pref SDLP Alex Attwood 2,461 Sinn Féin Alex Maskey 2,329 Sinn Féin T. M. Holland 2,256 SDLP Cormac Boomer 1,655 Sinn Féin Mairtin O Muilleoir 1,031 Alliance Pip Glendinning 931 Workers' Party G. A. McCann 386 Democratic Unionist I. Lewis 372 Labour and Trade Union Micky Duffy 238 People's Democracy John McAnulty 131 SDLP Peter Prendiville 72 Communist Party K. McCorry 60 Turnout 13,052 New area Lower Falls Party Candidate 1st Pref SDLP Joe Hendron 2,606 Sinn Féin Sean McKnight 1,939 Sinn Féin S. Keenan 1,752 Sinn Féin E. Fitzsimons 1,595 Sinn Féin Fra McCann 1,467 Workers' Party Mary McMahon 1,115 Alliance Will Glendinning 1,113 SDLP S. Mullen 159 Communist Party D. Murray 67 Turnout 12,263 New area
Newry and Mourne
- ^ "1981 Northern Ireland Chronology". CAIN Web Service. http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/othelem/chron/ch81.htm. Retrieved 2009-04-10.
- ^ a b c "1981 local government election result". ark.ac.uk. http://www.ark.ac.uk/elections/flg81.htm. Retrieved 2009-04-10.
- ^ Irish Times, 20 November 1984, p1 accessed 10 April 2009
- ^ Northern Ireland: The District Council Elections of 1985, page 5, S Elliott and FJ Smith, Queens University 1986, ISBN 0853892873
- ^ Elliott and Smith, p5
- ^ Elliott and Smith, p6
- ^ ibid
- ^ Elliott and Smith, page 9
- ^ Local Government Elections 1985, Northern Ireland Elections
- ^ a b c d e f g h i Belfast City Council Elections 1985–1989, Northern Ireland Elections
Elections and referendums in Northern Ireland Elections Local government elections1973 · 1977 · 1981 · 1985 · 1989 · 1993 · 1997 · 2001 · 2005 · 2011 Referendums
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