Waringstown voters cast out

Waringstown and Donaghcloney residents will no longer cast their vote for Lurgan councillors if the final recommendations for the local government district electoral areas are passed.

Under the restructured boundaries eligible voters living in those two villages will vote in the River Lagan DEA along with the people of Quilly, Dromore and Gransha.

The DUP had tried to keep Waringstown in the Lurgan electoral district at the expense of Magheralin but the commissioner rejected their proposal.

The new DEAs, set to be passed by parliament, will form the basis for future local government elections.

TheDUP proposed that Waringstown ward be transferred from the Lagan River DEA to the Lurgan DEA on the basis of the more intense development of the ward. In exchange, they said, Magheralin should be transferred from the Lurgan DEA to the Lagan River DEA on the basis of its more rural nature.

The Ulster Unionist Party expressed its concern that the ward electoral averages were not evenly spread across all councils and asked for the matter to be reviewed.

The Upper Bann branch of Sinn Féin considered the Provisional Recommendations to be relatively balanced and fair but proposed that, on historical grounds, the Lagan River DEA should be called Clann Bhreasail or Clanbrassil.

The SDLP did not support the DUP proposal to swap Magheralin with the Waringstown ward.

Commmissioner Richard McKenzie agreed with the recommendations of Assistant Commissioner Havlin that there should be no change to the proposals as set out in the provisional recommendations either in terms of DEA boundaries or their names with the exception of locating Gilford in Banbridge and Gransha within Lagan River.

DUP group leader Carla Lockhart commented: “Waringstown has always been in the Lurgan ward and the suggestion made by our party for it to remain in the Lurgan ward was owing to the very clear linkages between Lurgan and Waringstown. There has always been a natural bond between Waringstown and Lurgan given the close proximity and this has become more evident in recent years with the extensive development of Waringstown and the increased population.

“The final boundaries have been agreed and the DUP locally will accept them and go on to fight the council election in May 2014.”