Effectively an amalgamation of five Derry DEAs and two Strabane DEAs.
SF 16. SDLP 10. Ind Rep 4.
DUP 8. UUP 2.
A very bad result for SDLP. A little local difficulty (an internal row) in the week before the Election led directly to a poor performance in one of the Derry DEAs. Perhaps more significantly Independent Republicans, allegedly close to the thinking of “dissidents” gained some seats. This has severely dented SDLPs belief that Derry is the SDLP “jewel in the crown. I think that dissidents getting a foothold will worry Sinn Fein as much.
Heady talk that this is bad news for Mark Durkan in defending his Westminster seat next year but actually he looks safe. He is a bigger name than his Party and will get some tactical votes in a “First Past the Post” style election.
But it is undoubtedly true that SF has now moved to parity with SDLP in party support. That might well effect the Assembly break down (currently SDLP lead SF by three seats to two).
But clearly this is something SDLP have to get a grip on.
Previous internal rows about candidate selection have not harmed SDLP because it had the luxury of dominance. Tnis is no longer the case.
Strabane…SDLP will have hoped for better but only took one seat in the two DEAs. Three candidates (and one victor)in Sperrin DEA looks over optimistic. And a bout of fisticuffs between rival SDLP camps at the Count Centre will have done nothing to dispel the image of a Party at odds with itself. Derg DEA…two candidates, and nobody elected…but a close call.
Strabane is of course in West Tyrone and while clearly the Strabane results are disappointing, they are balanced by the good performances in the. Omagh part of the constituency.
But the lesson here for SDLP is clear. Get a grip….quickly.