Taking seats was the game plan of the DUP going into Thursday’s local government election, according to Alderman Billy Ashe.
Speaking after he and colleague Cheryl Johnston had secured the last two seats in Carrick Castle District Electoral Area, Mr Ashe conceded it had been a long afternoon.
“But we did play the game to get seats, we didn’t play the game to top the poll and we are delighted to take the two seats in Carrick Castle.”
He added the party would offer a combination of experience and youth to the electorate of the DEA.
“I have been on the council for 17 years and we have a newcomer coming along now in the form of my running partner Cheryl Johnston, a young lady well educated, deeply interested in her community, deeply interested in politics and we believe that this is one of the rising stars for the future.
Asked about the issues raised on the doorsteps, the Mayor of Carrick continued: “People were concerned about the fragmentation of unionism and the number of candidates in the area that were professing to be unionist.
“And we certainly have to take stock of that and have a think for the new council.” Ulster Unionist Deputy Mayor John Stewart topped the poll with 939 first preference votes but he was his party’s sole runner in the DEA. The three DUP candidates recorded a combined total of 1,586 first preferences with the quota at 971.
Former UUP and now independent Jim Brown gained the second highest number of first preferences, 882 and UKIP’s Noel Jordan tied with Mr Ashe on 749 each.
The TUV’s William Knox scored a first preference vote of 338 while the PUP’s Jonathan Cooke had 248, independents John Cameron, 105 and Nicky Wady, 131, while the Alliance duo’s tally was 846.