Belfast Telegraph

SDLP's McCusker topped council poll in north Belfast despite spending much less than rivals

Paul McCusker
Paul McCusker
Suzanne Breen

By Suzanne Breen

The SDLP's poll-topping north Belfast councillor Paul McCusker spent just £562 on his election campaign - significantly less than any of his rivals in the Oldpark District Electoral Area (DEA), new figures reveal.

Analysis of Belfast candidates' election expenses returns in last month's poll showed that some of the candidates who spent the most failed to be elected, while low-spenders like Alliance's Michael Long, and the party's former Lord Mayor Nuala McAllister, topped the poll in their DEAs.

However, the Green Party's four councillors were among the highest spenders in the city.

In Oldpark, Mr McCusker secured 2,856 first preferences - 2,000 votes over quota.

The Workers' Party's Chris Bailie spent £1,695 - over three times the amount of the SDLP man - yet secured only 93 votes.

For Alliance, Mr Long spent just £486 in Lisnasharragh, and Ms McAllister spent £842 in Castle, but both were poll-toppers.

By contrast, the Greens put far greater financial resources into their campaign.

In Ormiston, Anthony Flynn spent more than any other candidate (£1,794).

Mal O'Hara was also the highest spender in Castle (£1,613).

The Greens' Aine Groogan was the second highest-spending candidate (£1,618) in Botanic, where the SDLP's Gary McKeown (£1,657) spent more than any of his rivals. He successfully took back the seat for the party from independent councillor Declan Boyle, who departed from SDLP ranks in a row over abortion. Mr Boyle spent £1,459.

Independent Jolene Bunting, who didn't hold her seat in Court, spent £1,350. In Balmoral, Ulster Unionist candidate Jeff Dudgeon, who didn't retain his seat, spent £1,187. Alliance's Kate Nicholl, who was re-elected, spent £669.

In Black Mountain, five of Sinn Fein's six candidates spent £960 each, as did the five Sinn Fein candidates in Collin.

Belfast Telegraph

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