SINN Fein has succeeded in its bid to become the dominant force in the Fermanagh and Omagh super council, claiming by far the biggest share of seats here in the local government elections.
The merging of Fermanagh with Omagh will see the balance of power shifting even more towards the nationalist parties with Sinn Fein, the SDLP and independent nationalist Bernice Swift securing a combined total of 26 seats out of 40 seats.
The outgoing council has a nationalist/unionist split of 13 versus nine.
The other big story of the local elections here was the sharp drop in the overall turnout with Enniskillen in particular badly affected by apathy with just over half of the electorate taking to the polls last Thursday.
Erne East has historically had some of the highest turnouts in the North and previously Europe, however, the DEA (District Electorate Area) only had 69 percent turnout, a big dip in thenumber of voters compared to the 2011 Westminster elections.
The outcome of the weekend’s election results has been hailed as a success for Sinn Fein, although both the SDLP and Ulster Unionists polled considerably better than many had expected.
The SDLP’s scored a notable victory over Sinn Fein in Erne East where the latter lost outgoing councillor Ruth Lynch’s seat to newcomer Richie McPhillips. Despite the strong nationalist majority, the UUP also put up a good fight after topping the polls in three DEAs across Fermanagh and retained all their current seats.
Topping the poll in the entire council area was current council chairman Alex Baird.
The DUP, meanwhile, had a relatively disappointing showing, losing a candidate in Enniskillen and suffering most from the impressive showing by the hardline Traditional Unionist Voice.