Vote Irish Republican
Vote Irish Republican


After a low key campaign, today’s council elections in the north of Ireland could turn the dial against unionist misrule and boost efforts to tackle inequality and discrimination at council level.

Polls open for the local government elections at 7am and close at 10pm. The electorate will choose 462 councillors from a total of 807 candidates across 11 district councils. Counting will take place on Friday and Saturday.

No transfer pact exists between the nationalist parties, but voters are being urged to mark their ballot paper for genuine republicans and then transfer their votes to other non-unionist candidates in their order of preference.

Election teams have reported widespread anger among nationalists at the continuing shutdown of the political system over Brexit due to the DUP’s veto. High levels of deprivation in nationalist areas amid a failure to fully implement the 1998 Good Friday Agreement have also been mentioned as issues raised on doorsteps.

New figures have shown that some nationalist areas are facing levels of poverty worse than 25 years ago. Other areas are suffering from sectarian discrimination in terms of housing, healthcare, investment and infrastructure, including the failure to upgrade the deadly A5 road through nationalist areas of Derry and Tyrone.

Sinn Féin is running more candidates than in 2019 and hopes to overtake the DUP as the biggest party of local government. Speaking on the eve of the local council elections, Michelle O’Neill said a vote for Sinn Féin would be “a clear signal that it is time to get the Assembly back up and running”.

In an eve-of-election message, she stated: “I am asking you to give Sinn Féin a stronger mandate to deliver for all in local councils by electing hardworking Sinn Féin councillors who will prioritise the issues facing workers and families.

“Now is the time for positive leadership to achieve a better future and work together for all.”

Sinn Féin is aiming to become the largest party at council level, outstripping the DUP, but there will also be a focus on whether smaller republican parties such as Aontú and the IRSP can make a breakthrough.

The IRSP is seeking its first seats on Belfast city council with two candidates, Dan Murphy in Black Mountain and Micheal Kelly in Court.

The party’s ‘electoral broadcast’ featured its Easter commemoration which included a traditional republican colour party wearing combat-style clothing.

Their eve of election message referred to Sinn Féin’s attendance at the Coronation of England’s King Charles. It exhorted voters to vote for a party “proud to be Republican... that won’t bow down to royalty or banquet with the British Establishment... that will stand up to Landlords and Anti-Community elements.. that will stand up for you”.

Mr Murphy has called for a review of council funding and spending.

“I know that if we get elected, myself and Michael (Kelly), we won’t change the world. I understand it’s a process, but we can offer a change and a different voice in the Belfast City Council,” he said.

Aontú’s pledges for local government include a freeze on rates increases, an increase in the number of new homes, and a plan to use councils to oppose health and education cutbacks.

The party believes local authorities can play a role in furthering Irish unity, promoting Irish language rights and blocking the British government’s controversial legacy legislation.

Speaking this week, party leader Peadar Tóibín said the north is in the middle of a major political and economic crisis due to the DUP’s boycott of the Stormont institutions.

“One-in-seven people are on hospital waiting lists; 300,000 people are living in poverty, 45,000 people are on housing waiting lists and key public servants are forced to strike for decent pay,” he said.

“In any other western country this level of hardship and political dysfunction would be met with protests on the streets but this is not any other western country.”

The vote share for the moderate nationalist SDLP has been declining in local government, with the party losing seven councillors in the 2019 election.

Speaking at the SDLP manifesto launch in Belfast, party leader Colum Eastwood urged voters to “be smart” with how they vote in the upcoming local elections.

“I know, people are frustrated with the DUP, there’s nobody more frustrated with the DUP than I am, but I would ask people to think very carefully about how they use their vote,” he said.

“Because there’s no point punishing parties like the SDLP, when the party you really want to hurt is the DUP, so people need to be smart and be clever with how they use their vote in this election.”

There are also a record number of independent republican candidates, including a group of five campaigning in the Mid-Ulster council area, while three others are competing in the Fermanagh and Omagh council area.

Spearheaded by incumbents Barry Monteith and Dan Kerr, the grassroots campaign is hoping to draw on wellsprings of republican support in the largely rural council areas. A further three independent republicans are seeking to retain their seats on Derry and Strabane council respectively, namely Gary Donnelly, Paul Gallagher and Raymond Barr.

People before Profit, the socialist organisation which backs Irish unity, is fielding 16 candidates and is looking build on its tally of five councillors with the endorsement of former republican MP Bernadette McAliskey. The Workers’ Party is also running seven candidates.

On the unionist side, the DUP’s battle with Jim Allister’s extremist TUV has been blamed for its failure to disown a controversial election candidate.

Ian McLaughlin, who is standing for the party in West Belfast, was involved with the ‘Ulster Political Research Group’ (UPRG), a body which represents the unionist paramilitary UDA.

He has also been suspected of involvement in a UPRG account on Twitter which has sent abusive and derogatory messages to journalists and nationalist figures.

Its tweets included referring to Irish people as “paddy”, using the word “b***h” when referring to women and “gypo” as a term for Travellers.

Mr McLaughlin was named as a representative of the West Belfast UPRG in a joint unionist statement in 2014 opposing a Parades Commission decision over an Orange Order march in the city, and in tweeets attributed to former DUP leader Nigel Dodds.

Current DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson told BBC on Thursday that McLaughlin is not a member of the UPRG, denied all of the allegations and insisted that he has “yet to see the evidence.”

Meanwhile, the Ulster Unionist Party leader Doug Beattie has warned that the absence of Stormont is undermining “the whole of the United Kingdom”.

Mr Beattie rejected accusations that he is a “traitor” because of his willingness to embrace the opportunities presented by the Windsor Framework during an interview on BBC Radio.

“People have called me a Lundy, people have called me a traitor, people have called me a Nazi collaborator,” he said.

He is calling for a return of the Stormont institutions.

“If one part of that union of four nations is sick the whole union is under threat,” he warned. “And Northern Ireland is sick.”


The following is a full list of all declared republican candidates for this year’s local elections:

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council


Anne Marie Logue (Sinn Féin)
Maighréad Ní Chonghaile (Sinn Féin)


Lucille O’Hagan (Sinn Féin)


Gerard Magee (Sinn Féin)


Henry Cushinan (Sinn Féin)
Siobhán McErlean (Aontú)
Annie O’Lone (Sinn Féin)


Michael Goodman (Sinn Féin)
Rosie Kinnear (Sinn Féin)
Eamonn McLaughlin (Sinn Féin)


Taylor McGrann (Sinn Féin)


Emmanuel Mullen (Sinn Féin)

Ards and North Down Borough Council

Ards Peninsula

Noel Sands (Sinn Féin)

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council


Daniel Connolly (Aontú)
Fergal Donnelly (Sinn Féin)
Sarah Duffy (Sinn Féin)
Ashley Mallon (Sinn Féin)
John Óg O’Kane (Sinn Féin)


Chris McCartan (Sinn Féin)
Kevin Savage (Sinn Féin)


Jude Mallon (Sinn Féin)
Catherine Nelson (Sinn Féin)


Bróna Haughey (Sinn Féin)

Lagan River

Vincent McAleenan (Sinn Féin)


Keith Haughian (Sinn Féin)
Liam Mackle (Sinn Féin)
Sorchá McGeown (Sinn Féin)
Mary O’Dowd (Sinn Féin)


Paul Duffy (Sinn Féin)
Claire McConville-Walker (Sinn Féin)

Belfast City Council


Geraldine McAteer (Sinn Féin)
Sean Napier (Sinn Féin)

Black Mountain

Ciaran Beattie (Sinn Féin)
Arder Carson (Sinn Féin)
Michael Donnelly (Sinn Féin)
Róis-Máire Donnelly (Sinn Féin)
Gerard Herdman (Aontú)
Ursula Meighan (Workers Party)
Dan Murphy (IRSP)
Áine McCabe (Sinn Féin)
Ronan McLaughlin (Sinn Féin)


Emma-Jane Faulkner (Sinn Féin)
John Gormley (Sinn Féin)
Paddy Lynn (Workers Party)


Brónach Anglin (Sinn Féin)
Lily Kerr (Workers Party)
Conor Maskey (Sinn Féin)


Patrick Crossan (Workers Party)
Joe Duffy (Sinn Féin)
Matt Garrett (Sinn Féin)
Caoimhín McCann (Sinn Féin)
Luke McCann (Aontú)
Julieann McNally (Independent)
Clíodhna Nic Bhranair (Sinn Féin)
Séanna Walsh (Sinn Féin)


Tina Black (Sinn Féin)
Claire Canavan (Sinn Féin)
Michael Kelly (IRSP)
Tony Walls (Workers Party)


Stevie Jenkins (Sinn Féin)


Nichola Bradley (Sinn Féin)
JJ Magee (Sinn Féin)
Ryan Murphy (Sinn Féin)
Fiona McCarthy (Workers Party)
Tomás Ó Néill (Sinn Féin)


Caitríona Mallaghan (Sinn Féin)


Pádraig Donnelly (Sinn Féin)

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council


Cathal McLaughlin (Independent)
Ciarán McQuillan (Sinn Féin)
Leanne Peacock (Sinn Féin)


Ciarán Archibald (Sinn Féin)
Sean Bateson (Sinn Féin)
Gemma Brolly (Aontú)


Liam McElhinney (Aontú)
Sean McGlinchey (Sinn Féin)
Kathleen McGurk (Sinn Féin)
Dermot Nicholl (Sinn Féin)


Emma Thompson (Sinn Féin)


Niamh Archibald (Sinn Féin)


John Boyle (Aontú)
Brenda Chivers (Sinn Féin)

The Glens

Oliver McMullan (Sinn Féin)
Cara McShane (Sinn Féin)
John Robbin (Aontú)
Maighréad Watson (Sinn Féin)

Derry City and Strabane District Council


Emmet Doyle (Aontú)
Sandra Duffy (Sinn Féin)
John McGowan (Sinn Féin)
Patrick Murphy (Sinn Féin)


Caroline Devine (Sinn Féin)
Leza Marie Houston (Aontú)
Ruairí McHugh (Sinn Féin)
Antaine Ó Fearghail (Sinn Féin)


Alex Duffy (Sinn Féin)
Sean Fleming (Sinn Féin)


Conor Heaney (Sinn Féin)
Seán Mac Cearáin (Aontú)
Grace Uí Niallais (Sinn Féin)


Raymond Barr (Independent)
Paul Boggs (Sinn Féin)
Paul Gallagher (Independent)
Brian Harte (Sinn Féin)
Fergal Leonard (Sinn Féin)
Darán Mac Meanman (Aontú)

The Moor

Darryl Christy (Aontú)
Gary Donnelly (Independent)
Aisling Hutton (Sinn Féin)
Patricia Logue (Sinn Féin)
Emma McGinley (Sinn Féin)


Caitlin Deeney (Sinn Féin)
Christopher Jackson (Sinn Féin)

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council


Dermot Browne (Sinn Féin)
Tommy Maguire (Sinn Féin)
Andrew McManus (Sinn Féin)

Erne East

Sheamus Greene (Sinn Féin) Elected
Noeleen Hayes (Sinn Féin)
Eamon Keenan (Independent)
Tina McDermott (Independent)
Thomas O’Reilly (Sinn Féin)

Erne North

Debbie Coyle (Sinn Féin)
John Feely (Sinn Féin)

Erne West

Elaine Brough (Sinn Féin)
Anthony Feely (Sinn Féin)
Declan McArdle (Sinn Féin)
Paul McGoldrick (Independent)

Mid Tyrone

Roisin Devine Gallagher (Sinn Féin)
Anne Marie Fitzgerald (Sinn Féin)
Padraigin Kelly (Sinn Féin)
Patrick Withers (Sinn Féin)


Amy Ferguson (Socialist Party)
Catherine Kelly (Sinn Féin)
Marty McColgan (Sinn Féin)
Barry McElduff (Sinn Féin)

West Tyrone

Glenn Campbell (Sinn Féin)
Ann-Marie Donnelly (Sinn Féin)
Stephen McCann (Sinn Féin)
Colette McNulty (Sinn Féin)

Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council

Castlereagh South

Daniel Bassett (Sinn Féin)
Ryan Carlin (Sinn Féin)

Downshire West

Siobhán Murphy (Sinn Féin)


Gary McCleave (Sinn Féin)

Lisburn North

Paul Burke (Sinn Féin)

Lisburn South

Aisling Flynn (Sinn Féin)

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council


Bréanainn Lyness (Sinn Féin)


Ian Friary (Sinn Féin)


Archie Rae (Sinn Féin)

Coast Road

James McKeown (Sinn Féin)

Mid Ulster District Council


Córa Corry (Sinn Féin)
Paddy Kelly (Sinn Féin)
Noreen McEldowney (Aontú)
Brian McGuigan (Sinn Féin)
Sean McPeake (Sinn Féin)

Clogher Valley

Gael Gildernew (Sinn Féin)
Eugene McConnell (Sinn Féin)
Kevin McElvogue (Independent)
Seán McGuigan (Sinn Féin)


Gavin Bell (Sinn Féin)
Cathal Mallaghan (Sinn Féin)
John McNamee (Sinn Féin)
Louise Taylor (Independent)


Dominic Molloy (Sinn Féin)
Barry Monteith (Independent)
Denise Mullen (Aontú)
Deirdre Varsani (Sinn Féin)
Marian Vincent (Independent)


Sean Clarke (Sinn Féin)
Darren Totten (Sinn Féin)


Sheila Fullerton (Aontú)
Jolene Groogan (Sinn Féin)
Donal McPeake (Sinn Féin)
Ian Milne (Sinn Féin)


Eimear Carney (Sinn Féin)
Paul Kelly (Sinn Féin)
Dan Kerr (Independent)
Niall McAleer (Sinn Féin)
Nuala McLernon (Sinn Féin)
Teresa Quinn (Independent)

Newry City, Mourne and Down District Council


Mark Gibbons (Independent)
Kate Murphy (Sinn Féin)
Selina Murphy (Sinn Féin)
Gerry O’Hare (Sinn Féin)
Mickey Ruane (Sinn Féin)


Philip Campbell (Sinn Féin)
Oonagh Hanlon (Sinn Féin)
Éamonn Mac Con Midhe (Independent)
Louise Rooney (Sinn Féin)


Nicola Grant (Workers Party)
Valerie Harte (Sinn Féin)
Geraldine Kearns (Sinn Féin)
Cathal King (Sinn Féin)
Sharon Loughran (Aontú)
Aidan Mathers (Sinn Féin)


Dermot Kennedy (Sinn Féin)

Slieve Croob

Jim Brennan (Sinn Féin)
Roisin Howell (Sinn Féin)
Rosemary McGlone (Aontú)
Siobhán O’Hare (Sinn Féin)

Slieve Gullion

Aoife Finnegan (Sinn Féin)
Mickey Larkin (Sinn Féin)
Oonagh Magennis (Sinn Féin)
Declan Murphy (Sinn Féin)
Barra Ó Muiri (Sinn Féin)
Aine Quinn (Sinn Féin)
Liam Reichenberg (Aontú)

The Mournes

Willie Clarke (Sinn Féin)
Leeanne McEvoy (Sinn Féin)
Michael Rice (Sinn Féin)

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