THE PEOPLE of Fermanagh will go the polls tomorrow (Thursday) to elect a new cohort of councillors to represent us in local government for the next four years.
Polling stations across the county will open at 7am tomorrow morning, and will remain open until 10pm. Voters are reminded to bring a valid form of photographic idea along with their voting cards, although your identity document does not have to be current, so don’t worry if your passport is out of date.
Here in the North, local elections always use the single transferable vote system, which means when you go into the booth to vote you put a number ‘1’ in the box beside your preferred candidate. You can then also add in a number two, three, four, and as far down the ballot you wish to go, in order of preference.
While the Council may not have the same level of power as the Assembly or Westminster, it still has the ability to impact many aspects of everyday life locally, from setting rates bills, to providing waste collection, dog control, leisure centres, and much more.
The Council also provides a strong voice to lobby for local issues, such as improvements to local roads and other infrastructure, and calling for the protection of local health services, as has been seen with its work on the SWAH in recent months.
There are 37 candidates running in four electoral areas in Fermanagh this year, with 22 seats up for grabs in the county.
In Enniskillen, where six councillors are to be elected, there are 11 candidates vying for a seat.
They are, Paul Blake (SDLP); Dermot Browne (Sinn Féin); Donald Crawford (TUV); Roy Crawford (UUP); Keith Elliott (DUP); Robert Irvine (UUP); Tommy Maguire (Sinn Féin); Jill Mahon (DUP); Andrea McManus (Sinn Féin); Donal O’Cofaigh (Cross-Community Labour Alternative); and Eddie Roofe (Alliance).
In Erne East, there are nine candidates and six seats in contention.
The candidates are, Richard Bullick (Alliance); Sheamus Greene (Sinn Féin); Noeleen Hayes (Sinn Féin); Eamon Keenan (Independent); Tina McDermott (Independent); Garbhan McPhillips (SDLP); Thomas O’Reilly (Sinn Féin); Paul Robinson (DUP); and Victor Warrington (UUP).
There are five seats on the line in Erne North, and nine candidates will be on the ballot.
They are, Diana Armstrong (UUP); Eric Bullick (Alliance); Debbie Coyle (Sinn Féin); John Coyle (SDLP); Alex Elliott (TUV); John Feely (Sinn Féin); David Mahon (DUP); John McClaughry (UUP); and Paul Stevenson (DUP).
Finally, in Erne West eight candidates are vying for one of five seats.
They are, Elaine Brough (Sinn Féin); Aaron Elliott (DUP); Anthony Feely (Sinn Féin); Adam Gannon (SDLP); Declan McArdle (Sinn Féin); Gerard McCusker (Alliance); Paul McGoldrick (Independent); and Mark Ovens (UUP).
Counting does not take place overnight here, like in England, so the ballot boxes will not be opened until Friday morning.
This year, the count will be split across two days, with the Enniskillen and Erne East votes being counted on Friday and the Erne West and Erne North votes being counted on Saturday.
For full coverage and analysis of this year’s results, make sure to pick up next week’s Fermanagh Herald.
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