Belfast Telegraph

Three Alliance candidates top the poll in good day for the party

By Chris McCullough

It was a good day for Alliance as the new make-up of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council was revealed.

The party fielded five candidates and all of them gained a seat, with three topping the poll in their respective areas.

Coming top in the DUP stronghold of Antrim DEA, Alliance Party member Neil Kelly gained 1,689 votes out of an eligible electorate of 15,051 - a huge success for the councillor who joined the party in 2010.

His vote count was more than double that of his nearest rival, John Smyth of the DUP with 734 votes, followed by Roisin Lynch (SDLP, 723 votes).

"I am totally overwhelmed with the support," said Mr Kelly. "The people of Antrim have really come out and voted against the usual tribal politics. My campaign was simple: I told the people if they were fed up with the orange and green politics then they should vote for me, and they did."

The DUP's first openly gay councillor, Alison Bennington, declined to speak to the media following her election at stage six of the Glengormley Urban DEA.

The Ulster Unionists managed five seats during yesterday's count.

New UUP councillor Leah Smyth pledged to deliver on what she said was local people's wish for a fresh approach to politics.

Although elected, Sinn Fein councillors Michael Goodman, Rosie Kinnear and Taylor McGrann failed to reach the quotas in their DEAs.

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