Northern Ireland local government elections, 1989

Northern Ireland local government elections, 1989

Northern Ireland 1973–98

This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
Northern Ireland

Interim bodies
Northern Ireland Assembly (1973)
Northern Ireland Executive (1974)
Constitutional Convention (1975)
Northern Ireland Assembly (1982)
Northern Ireland Forum (1996)
1973 · 1975 · 1982 · 1996
1973 · 1975 · 1982 · 1996
See also
Anglo-Irish Agreement
New Ireland Forum
Northern Ireland by-elections, 1986
Northern Ireland sovereignty referendum, 1973

Other countries · Atlas
Politics portal
view · talk · edit

Elections for local government were held in Northern Ireland in 1989.



The elections took place after a turbulent period in Northern Irish politics. The signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA) in November 1985 had been followed by widespread protests by those in the Unionist community. In November 1985, the 18 Unionist controlled District Councils voted for a policy of adjournment in protest against the AIA and in February 1986 also refused to set the 'rates' (local government taxes). In September 1986 Unionist councillors considered but rejected the option of mass resignations but decided to continue to use council chambers as a forum to protest the agreement.[1]

One new development on the Unionist side was the entry into Northern Ireland politics of the Conservative Party which was joined by three sitting Unionist councillors.

On the Irish Republican side, the Irish Independence Party had disbanded following poor election results in 1985. Sinn Féin had split in 1986 over the issue of sitting in the Irish parliament, Dáil Éireann, if elected. The dissenting faction had formed Republican Sinn Féin (RSF). Three of the fifty nine councillors elected for Sinn Féin in 1985 joined this grouping.[2] The Remembrance Day bombing of 1987 had a negative impact on subsequent SF support.[3] Irish Republicanism was also affected by the passing of the Elected Authorities (Northern Ireland) Act 1989 which disqualified candidates who refused to sign a declaration renouncing:

"(a) any organisation that is for the time being a proscribed organisation specified in Schedule 2 to the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1978: or
(b) acts of terrorism (that is to say, violence for political ends) connected with the affairs of Northern Ireland"

RSF refused to sign the declaration and thus their twenty three candidates became ineligible.[2]



Party[4] Councillors Votes
Total +/-  % share Total
Ulster Unionist 194 +5 31.3 193,064
SDLP 121 +19 21.0 129,557
Democratic Unionist 110 -32 17.7 109,342
Sinn Féin 43 -16 11.2 69,032
Alliance 38 +4 6.9 42,646
Independent 23 +14 3.8 23,617
Independent Unionist 15 +7 2.6 15,804
Workers' Party 4 0 2.1 13,078
Conservative 6 N/A 0.8 5,204
Progressive Unionist 3 0 0.6 3,839
Ulster Democratic 1 +1 0.4 2,413
Protestant Unionist 1 0 0.3 1,879
Protestant 1 +1 0.3 1,754
Labour '87 1[5] N/A 0.2 1,433
Ulster Popular Unionist 3 0 0.2 1,223
Independent Nationalist 0 -6 0.1 804
Independent Conservative 1 N/A 0.1 752
Independent Democratic Unionist 0 0 0.1 585
Independent Loyalist 0 0 0.1 351
Green (NI) 0 0 0.1 329
Independent Labour 0 0 0.1 293
Communist Party 0 0 0.0 175
National Front 0 0 0.0 68

By council

The results were interpreted as "movement away from the extremes"[6] with the UUP and SDLP increasing their lead over their rivals in the DUP and Sinn Féin respectively. A total of eleven councils saw the two top posts shared by parties from either side of the political/sectarian divide.[6] The number of councils controlled by one party increased from two to six. The DUP retained control of Ballymena, with the UUP retained control of Banbridge and gained control of Antrim and Lisburn. The SDLP gained control of Down and Derry.







Party Candidate 1st Pref
Progressive Unionist Hugh Smyth 2,533
Independent Unionist Elizabeth Seawright 1,408
Ulster Unionist Fred Cobain 1,170
Democratic Unionist Eric Smyth 1,006
Independent Unionist Joe Coggle 953
Ulster Unionist Herbert Ditty 897
Independent W. B. Smith 717
Democratic Unionist Ted Ashby 644
Independent Unionist Alfie Ferguson 509
Workers' Party Peter Cullen 367
Sinn Féin Joe Austin 240
Turnout 10,825
No change
Party Candidate 1st Pref
Democratic Unionist Sammy Wilson 2,780
Ulster Unionist Margaret Clarke 1,480
Alliance Mervyn Jones 1,296
Independent Unionist Dorothy Dunlop 1,179
Ulster Unionist Reg Empey 864
Democratic Unionist F. Leslie 768
Sinn Féin Joe O'Donnell 629
Workers' Party S. Flanagan 541
Democratic Unionist Jim Walker 493
Ulster Unionist D. A. McNutt 420
Democratic Unionist J. Norris 263
National Front S. McCullough 27
Turnout 11,248
Independent Unionist gain from Democratic Unionist
Party Candidate 1st Pref
Alliance John Alderdice 2,933
Ulster Unionist Tommy Patton 2,845
Ulster Unionist Ian Adamson 1,730
Democratic Unionist Wallace Browne 1,374
Democratic Unionist Robin Newton 1,171
Ulster Unionist A. F. H. Montgomery 767
Alliance Danny Dow 732
Democratic Unionist I. Lewis 667
Alliance G. P. C. Thompson 533
Independent S. J. Walker 449
Workers' Party H. Jordan 333
Turnout 13,901
No change
Party Candidate 1st Pref
Ulster Unionist Margaret Crooks 2,163
Ulster Unionist Jim Kirkpatrick 1,818
SDLP Dorita Field 1,636
Democratic Unionist Joan Parkes 1,602
Independent Unionist Billy Dickson 1,177
Alliance Mark Long 1,105
Alliance John Montgomery 1,061
Democratic Unionist C. Bingham 599
Workers' Party Shaun McKeown 243
Turnout 12,160
Alliance gain from Democratic Unionist
Party Candidate 1st Pref
SDLP Alban Maginness 2,301
Ulster Unionist John Carson 2,192
Independent Unionist Frank Millar 1,835
Democratic Unionist Nigel Dodds 1,779
Independent Unionist Nelson McCausland 1,163
Alliance Tom Campbell 1,053
Ulster Unionist Alfie Redpath 767
Workers' Party A. Kerr 496
Sinn Féin Bobby Lavery 453
Democratic Unionist S. Lowry 216
Labour '87 T. Galloway 103
Green (NI) M. O'Sullivan 95
Turnout 12,326
Independent Unionist gain from Democratic Unionist
Party Candidate 1st Pref
SDLP Brian Feeney 2,426
Ulster Unionist Fred Proctor 1,850
Sinn Féin G. McGuigan 1,682
Workers' Party Seamus Lynch 1,639
Sinn Féin Paddy McManus 1,548
Sinn Féin W. J. McGarry 1,115
Ulster Loyalist Democratic P. J. Bird 837
Democratic Unionist S. Mulholland 805
Ulster Unionist William Gault 780
Alliance G. E. Jones 443
Ulster Loyalist Democratic W. Clark 71
Turnout 13,744
Ulster Unionist gain from Democratic Unionist
Party Candidate 1st Pref
Ulster Unionist J. J. Dixon Gilmore 1,496
SDLP Alasdair McDonnell 1,415
Alliance Steve McBride 1,107
Democratic Unionist Rhonda Paisley 1,036
Ulster Unionist Jim Clarke 854
Alliance M. S. Thomas 755
Ulster Unionist H. Fletcher 753
Sinn Féin J. P. Clinton 753
SDLP G. McGettrick 629
Workers' Party K. Smyth 479
Ulster Unionist M. A. Dickson 198
Democratic Unionist B. Horan 132
Labour '87 P. A. Hainsworth 109
Communist Party Barry Bruton 91
Turnout 10,179
No change
Upper Falls[7]
Party Candidate 1st Pref
SDLP Alex Attwood 3,292
Sinn Féin Alex Maskey 2,378
Sinn Féin T. M. Holland 2,329
Sinn Féin Mairtin O Muilleoir 1,435
SDLP Cormac Boomer 1,189
SDLP Peter Prendiville 713
Independent Cormac Boomer 378
Workers' Party J. Craig 380
Alliance Dan McGuinness 326
Democratic Unionist R. Morrow 283
Communist Party K. O'Donnell 84
Turnout 12,835
Sinn Féin gain from Alliance
Lower Falls[7]
Party Candidate 1st Pref
SDLP Joe Hendron 2,748
Sinn Féin Fra McCann 2,307
Sinn Féin E. Fitzsimons 1,765
Sinn Féin R. G. May 1,626
Sinn Féin Sean McKnight 1,428
Workers' Party Mary McMahon 1,093
SDLP Mary Muldoon 588
Alliance Derrick Crothers 135
Turnout 12,260
Social Democratic and Labour gain from Alliance



Castlereagh Central[8]
Party Candidate 1st Pref
Democratic Unionist Peter Robinson 3,461
Ulster Unionist G.T.A. Dillon 914
Alliance R.P. Mitchell 909
Ulster Unionist E. Gray 453
Alliance A.M. Smith 446
Democratic Unionist A.S. Carson 277
Democratic Unionist J. Boyd 184
Democratic Unionist C. Moore 150
Democratic Unionist P. McNaughten 26
Turnout 6,820
No change
Castlereagh East[8]
Party Candidate 1st Pref
Democratic Unionist Iris Robinson 1,168
Democratic Unionist M.E. Anderson 938
Independent Unionist W.H. Abraham 756
Alliance W. Boyd 749
Ulster Popular Unionist T. Jeffers 509
Ulster Unionist J. Bell 501
Ulster Unionist A. Murray 312
Alliance M.J. Wilkes 257
Democratic Unionist J.W. Boyle 196
Democratic Unionist S.M. Robinson 122
Independent M.A.B. Brooks 40
Turnout 5,548
Ulster Popular Unionist gain from Ulster Unionist
Independent Unionist gain from Ulster Unionist
Castlereagh South[8]
Party Candidate 1st Pref
Ulster Unionist John Taylor 2,039
Democratic Unionist E.S. Harper 1,954
Alliance D.G. Andrews 1,364
Ulster Unionist J. Clarke 667
Alliance Geraldine Rice 605
Democratic Unionist B.M. Chambers 432
Ulster Unionist F.R. Kane 402
Ulster Unionist M. Luney 164
Democratic Unionist T.R. Scott 107
Democratic Unionist G.E. McCorkell 62
Turnout 7,796
Alliance gain from Democratic Unionist













Party Candidate 1st Pref
Democratic Unionist Gardiner Kane 385
SDLP Michael O'Cleary 379
Independent S. Blaney 221
Independent A.D. McAuley 218
Ulster Unionist R.A. McPherson 218
Independent J. McShane 202
Independent C.P. McCaughan 160
SDLP N. McCurdy 93
Turnout 1,876
Independent gain from Sinn Féin
Giant's Causeway[9]
Party Candidate 1st Pref
Independent Unionist R.A. McIlroy 554
Democratic Unionist J.A. Rodgers 370
Independent Unionist P. McConaghy 319
Ulster Unionist R.E. Getty 304
Democratic Unionist G. Rodgers 137
Independent Unionist R. McIlvar 46
Turnout 1,730
No change
The Glens[9]
Party Candidate 1st Pref
SDLP Malachy McSparran 468
SDLP P.J. McBride 344
Sinn Féin James McCarry 331
Independent R.D. McDonnell 297
SDLP J.G.C. Mitchell 284
Democratic Unionist E. White 251
SDLP D. Anderson 188
Independent M.J. Brogan 168
Turnout 2,331
No change

Newry and Mourne


Antrim Line[10]
Party Candidate 1st Pref
Alliance J.J. Rooney 908
Democratic Unionist Tommy Kirkham 800
Ulster Unionist J. Smith 775
Ulster Unionist W. Green 718
SDLP T. P. McTeague 684
Ulster Unionist I. Hunter 414
Democratic Unionist B. McDonnell 235
Workers' Party B. Harrison 142
Labour Party NI[11] T. Davidson 111
Turnout 4,787
SDLP gain from Democratic Unionist
Party Candidate 1st Pref
Ulster Unionist S. H. Turkington 969
Independent Unionist Arthur Templeton 863
Ulster Unionist T. J. Downes 721
Independent Unionist S. R. Cameron 565
Democratic Unionist S. Cameron 431
Democratic Unionist S. Gardiner 359
Alliance T. Strain 323
Independent L. Hardy 281
Turnout 4,512
Ulster Unionist gain from Independent
Doagh Road[10]
Party Candidate 1st Pref
Ulster Unionist Fraser Agnew 761
Labour Party NI[11] Bob Kidd 712
Democratic Unionist Billy Snoddy 604
Ulster Unionist A. Beattie 526
Alliance J. K. Blair 334
Independent Democratic Unionist D. Hollis 246
Ulster Unionist W. Wright 109
Sinn Féin L. Collins 96
Workers' Party J.J. Magee 78
National Front David Kerr 41
Turnout 3,507
Alliance gain from Democratic Unionist
Manse Road[10]
Party Candidate 1st Pref
Ulster Unionist George Herron 1,762
Ulster Unionist J. Robinson 914
Alliance Gordon Mawhinney 725
Democratic Unionist S. D. Neill 713
Ulster Unionist J. A. Kell 303
Workers' Party B. Heaney 175
Independent Democratic Unionist T. M. Buchanan 99
Turnout 4,691
Alliance gain from Democratic Unionist
Shore Road[10]
Party Candidate 1st Pref
Ulster Unionist B. J. Gilliland 1,008
Ulster Unionist Ken Robinson 973
Democratic Unionist B. Boyd 950
Alliance W. J. McKimmon 769
Independent Democratic Unionist W. M. Ball 240
Labour Party NI[11] D. Lowrie 164
Democratic Unionist J. Boyd 150
Turnout 4,254
No change

North Down




  1. ^ Chronology of the Anglo Irish agreement
  2. ^ a b Elliott, Sydney; Smith, F.J. (1992), Northern Ireland: The District Council Elections of 1989, Queen's University of Belfast 
  3. ^ Sinn Fein background
  4. ^ Local Government Elections 1989, Northern Ireland Elections
  5. ^ The councillor had been elected in 1985 for the Newtownabbey Labour Party, which was a member of the Labour '87 coalition.
  6. ^ a b Responsibility sharing in local government
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i Belfast City Council Elections 1985–1989, Northern Ireland Elections
  8. ^ a b c Castlereagh Council Elections 1985–1989, Northern Ireland Elections
  9. ^ a b c Moyle Council Elections 1985–1989, Northern Ireland Elections
  10. ^ a b c d e newtownabbey Council Elections 1985–1989, Northern Ireland Elections
  11. ^ a b c Stood under the "Labour '87" banner

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries: