1973 Londonderry City Council election
Londonderry COA.svg

← 1967 30 May 1973 1977 →

All 27 seats to Londonderry City Council
  First party Second party Third party
 
Leader Raymond McClean Jack Allen Ivor Canavan
Party SDLP United Loyalist Alliance
Leader's seat Londonderry D Londonderry E Londonderry E
Seats before N/A 12 N/A
Seats won 10 9 4
Seat change Increase 10 Decrease 3 Increase 4

  Fourth party Fifth party
 
Leader Fergus McAteer Michael Montgomery
Party Nationalist Republican Clubs
Leader's seat Londonderry E Londonderry C
Seats before 8 N/A
Seats won 3 1
Seat change Decrease 5 Increase 1

1973 Londonderry City Council election (most voted party by electoral area).svg
Map of the results by electoral area. Electoral areas are shaded according to the party that received the most votes. Circles represent the political affiliation of councillors elected for each electoral area.

Council control before election

Londonderry Development Commission

Council control after election

No overall control

The 1973 Londonderry City Council election took place on 30 May 1973 to elect members of Londonderry City Council in Northern Ireland. This was on the same day as other Northern Irish local elections. The campaign was significant in that, following changes to the election process and districts, Irish nationalist parties were able to take control of the council for the first time.

Background

The election was the first held since the Londonderry Corporation had been reorganised under the Local Government (Boundaries) Act (Northern Ireland) 1971 following accusations of gerrymandering from the Corporation.[1] The vote was also the first to use the single transferable vote method of election for Londonderry council elections.[2]

During the elections, the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), and Vanguard Unionist Progressive Party joined forces as The United Loyalist Group for the Londonderry City Council elections.[3] The group also claimed the backing of the Loyalist Association of Workers, the Ulster Protestant Volunteers, and the Ulster Special Constabulary Association. It was jointly chaired by Gerard Glover, chair of the City of Londonderry and Foyle Unionist Association, and Gordon Hegarty, a parliamentary agent for the DUP. It was initially unclear whether the coalition had the backing of the UUP headquarters, but Jim Bailie, the party secretary, stated that "I am sure whatever they are doing is all right by me". The group had a four point programme: total defeat of the Irish Republican Army, control of the police to be given to the Northern Ireland Assembly, increased representation of Northern Ireland in the Westminster Parliament, and opposition to a Council of Ireland.[4] The group took over the local headquarters of the UUP, on Kennedy Place.[5]

The nationalist Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) contested Londonderry City Council elections for the first time since being established in 1970 in protest against abstentionism policies from the Nationalist Party.[6] It stood 19 candidates, the most of any party in the election.[5]

The Alliance Party of Northern Ireland stood 15 candidates, while the Derry Republican Club, backed by the Official Irish Republican Army (OIRA) stood 12, as did the United Loyalists. The Nationalist Party stood 10, including Fergus McAteer, son of the party leader, while there was a single Northern Ireland Labour Party candidate. Independent candidates included Brendan Duddy, a local fish-and-chip shop owner, and Finbar O'Doherty, a law student.[5]

Campaign

During the campaign, the British Army reduced its foot patrols in the city, arguing that this would help create an atmosphere in which people would feel confident to go and vote. The Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) did not conduct any bombings in the week leading up to the vote, an unusually long lull for the period.[7] The group also went door-to-door, calling for a boycott of the election.[5]

The day before the election, the PIRA and OIRA announced a surprising joint initiative of protest marches, strikes and the creation of "no-go areas" for police, in protest at internment, but coming at such a late point in the campaign, the Irish Times contended that it would have little effect on the vote.[5]

The Republican Clubs published a half-page advert in the Derry Journal, claiming that both the SDLP and the Nationalist Party had broken pledges not to contest local elections until all internees had been released. John Hume, deputy leader of the SDLP, claimed that the party's pledge was specific to the period when the Parliament of Northern Ireland had existed.[7] The Alliance Party accused Hume of having only visited Shantallow twice since he was elected to represent it in 1969, but Hume argued that he had visited it on numerous occasions, and had three volunteers running an advice centre in the district. Hume claimed that the Alliance Party's candidates were unionists and were "yesterday's men".[7]

The Nationalist Party argued that the SDLP was standing too many candidates, risking splitting the nationalist vote and thereby allowing the unionists to win more seats. It campaigned for the council to work closely with tenants' and other community groups, and for the council to move away from party politics.[8]

Hume claimed that the SDLP would do "very well", but would not be drawn on whether it would achieve a majority on the council, while Hegarty of the United Loyalists thought that it would win 10 seats. The Alliance Party focused its campaign on relieving unemployment and building new leisure, health, and community facilities, and believed it would win 7 or 8 seats. The Republican Club would not speculate on how many seats it would win, but Mickey Doherty claimed that it would take a "fairly substantial vote and surprise a lot of people".[5]

Election results

The Irish Times reported the city as having particularly high turnout, initially estimated as between 65 and 70%.[9][10] The count was the slowest in the whole of Northern Ireland.[11]

Below is a list of the results:[12]

Party Seats ± First Pref. votes FPv% ±%
SDLP 10 11,008 32.4%
United Loyalist 9 12,483 36.8%
Alliance 4 4,930 14.5%
Nationalist 3 2,850 8.4%
Republican Clubs 1 2,091 6.2%
Independent 0 425 1.3%
NI Labour 0 88 0.3%
Independent Republican 0 71 0.2%
Totals 27 34,625 100%

[12]

Districts summary

Results of the Londonderry City Council election, 1973
by district[12]
Ward %
Cllrs
%
Cllrs
%
Cllrs
%
Cllrs
%
Cllrs
Total
Cllrs
SDLP Alliance Nationalist RC Others
Area A 32.2 2 12.2 1 1.7 0 2.6 0 51.3 3 6
Area B 18.3 1 17.0 1 4.3 0 2.2 0 58.2 3 5
Area C 49.3 3 13.4 0 21.4 1 15.9 1 0.0 0 6
Area D 40.1 2 13.4 1 11.3 1 8.6 0 26.6 1 5
Area E 31.1 2 15.8 1 9.2 1 6.1 0 37.8 2 6
Total 32.4 10 14.5 4 8.4 3 6.2 1 38.5 9 27

Districts results

Area A

1973: 3 x United Loyalist, 2 x SDLP, 1 x Alliance

Londonderry Area A - 6 seats[13]
Party Candidate FPv% Count
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
United Loyalist Thomas Craig 15.66% 1,294                
United Loyalist Robert Bond 13.63% 1,126 1,160.56 1,163.72 1,163.72 1,172.96 1,189.96      
SDLP George Peoples 10.64% 879 879.08 884.08 912.08 965.08 1,018.08 1,192.08    
United Loyalist Robinson 11.62% 960 1,014.64 1,020.64 1,020.64 1,033.96 1,034.04 1,035.04 1,783.04  
Alliance Arthur Barr 5.10% 421 421.8 450.8 458.8 580.04 880.36 904.36 921.32 997.32
SDLP Thomas Doherty 6.49% 536 536.08 547.08 569.08 655.16 679.16 968.16 970.16 970.16
SDLP Courtrey 9.11% 753 753 754 776 809 866 915 915 916
United Loyalist Gordon Hegarty 9.28% 767 777.64 778.64 779.72 782.8 786.88 788.96    
SDLP Millar 5.95% 492 492.08 494.08 505.08 552.08 564.08      
Alliance Gormley 5.02% 415 415.56 428.56 443.56 499.56        
Republican Clubs Gillespie 2.59% 214 214.08 214.08 251.08          
Alliance Morrison 2.12% 175 175.88 183.88 184.88          
Nationalist Mulhern 1.72% 142 142.08 146.08            
NI Labour Grace Stevenson 1.07% 88 88.16              
Electorate: 10,497   Valid: 8,262 (78.71%)   Spoilt: 94   Quota: 1,181   Turnout: 8,356 (79.60%)  

Area B

1973: 3 x United Loyalist, 1 x SDLP, 1 x Alliance

Londonderry Area B - 5 seats[13]
Party Candidate FPv% Count
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
United Loyalist Glenn Barr 22.11% 1,659                
Alliance Herbert Faulkner 11.37% 853 867.4 868.4 869.4 953.64 959.6 1,203.6 1,251.6  
SDLP Michael Fegan 12.53% 940 940.72 943.72 967.72 969.72 1,009.96 1,047.96 1,726.96  
United Loyalist Anna Hay 11.66% 875 1,030.04 1,030.04 1,030.04 1,033.04 1,035.28 1,087.52 1,088.52 ????
United Loyalist T. G. Heathley 11.65% 874 1,039.36 1,039.36 1,039.36 1,044.36 1,044.6 1,045.6 1,046.6 ????
United Loyalist Jeffrey 12.80% 960 1,017.12 1,017.12 1,017.12 1,018.6 1,019.6 1,019.6 1,021.6 ????
SDLP Morrison 5.77% 433 433 434 454 458 463 485    
Nationalist McCloskey 2.11% 158 158 160 211 213 348 360    
Alliance Kelly 3.43% 257 257.24 258.24 264.24 325.24 530.24      
Nationalist Boyle 2.21% 166 167.68 168.68 194.68 194.68        
Alliance Sinclair 2.19% 164 164.96 165.96 166.96          
Republican Clubs Moran 1.21% 91 91 151            
Republican Clubs Shotter 0.96% 72 72              
Electorate: 10,377   Valid: 7,502 (72.29%)   Spoilt: 104   Quota: 1,251   Turnout: 7,606 (73.30%)  

Area C

1973: 3 x SDLP, 1 x Nationalist, 1 x Republican Clubs

Londonderry Area C - 5 seats[13]
Party Candidate FPv% Count
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Nationalist Gerard Barr 13.87% 698 703 705 717 729 1,020      
SDLP Patrick Devine 14.46% 728 728 731 731 804 821 859.4    
SDLP Hugh Doherty 10.43% 525 528 533 540 603 619 637.4 650.15 865.15
SDLP Leonard Green 9.60% 483 484 489 490 559 577 592.2 596.28 849.28
Republican Clubs Michael Montgomery 7.97% 401 467 469 731 738 762 838.8 840.84 840.84
Alliance Kelly 8.66% 436 436 644 649 656 665 673.8 674.82 703.82
SDLP Nelis 7.43% 374 378 382 384 520 544 565.6 566.11  
Nationalist John McCrystal 7.51% 378 381 384 399 410        
SDLP Joseph Moran 7.35% 370 375 378 382          
Republican Clubs Liam Gallagher 5.40% 272 310 312            
Alliance Gerard O'Grady 4.75% 239 241              
Republican Clubs P. C. Quinn 2.56% 129                
Electorate: 9,324   Valid: 5,033 (53.98%)   Spoilt: 206   Quota: 839   Turnout: 5,239 (56.19%)  

Area D

1973: 2 x SDLP, 1 x United Loyalist, 1 x Alliance, 1 x Nationalist

Londonderry Area D - 5 seats[13]
Party Candidate FPv% Count
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
United Loyalist Marlene Jefferson 23.42% 1,041                      
SDLP Raymond McClean 18.18% 808                      
SDLP Feeney 14.47% 643 644 666.4 666.48 668.64 675.72 689.8 696.88 745.64      
Alliance Joe Cosgrove 9.18% 408 518 519.68 532.76 534.76 535.76 552 555 567.16 577.24 797.44 797.44
Nationalist James Hegarty 7.67% 341 344 346 346 346 351 361.08 373.16 375.56 518.8 529.12 607.04
Republican Clubs Mickey Doherty 5.15% 229 231 231 231 260 281 286.08 381.16 385.16 401.32 402.32 419.92
SDLP William O'Connoll 4.81% 214 215 235.88 235.96 236.04 239.04 246.12 248.12 318.52 325.4 339.8  
Alliance Mulhern 3.49% 155 273 274.04 295.2 296.2 297.2 308.28 308.28 310.44 317.68    
Nationalist Charles McDaid 3.67% 163 165 166.52 166.52 171.68 178.68 187.76 195.84 196.92      
SDLP O'Hara 2.68% 119 119 131.64 131.64 131.72 133.72 140.96 142.04        
Republican Clubs Lynch 2.16% 96 97 97.32 97.32 116.32 128.32 133.4          
Independent O'Neill 1.51% 67 80 80.96 83.96 84.04 92.12            
Independent Republican Finbar O'Doherty 1.60% 71 71 71.16 71.16 71.16              
Republican Clubs McCool 1.33% 59 59 59.56 59.56                
Alliance McKenna 0.70% 31 39 39.4                  
Electorate: 6,982   Valid: 4,445 (63.66%)   Spoilt: 122   Quota: 741   Turnout: 4,567 (65.41%)  

Area E

1973: 2 x United Loyalist, 2 x SDLP, 1 x Alliance, 1 x Nationalist

Londonderry Area E - 6 seats[13]
Party Candidate FPv% Count
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
United Loyalist Jack Allen 17.45% 1,519                              
Alliance Ivor Canavan 8.25% 718 719.98 720.98 766.98 791.16 791.16 792.16 804.16 830.16 1,029.32 1,032.32 1,332.04        
United Loyalist Albert McCartney 10.26% 893 1,100.9 1,100.9 1,102.44 1,102.62 1,103.62 1,103.62 1,105.62 1,105.62 1,111.34 1,111.34 1,149.78 1,193.78 1,195.78 1,715.78  
SDLP Dan Casey 11.43% 995 995.36 996.36 998.36 1,012.36 1,012.36 1,013.36 1,205.36 1,055.36 1,064.72 1,141.72 1,149.9 1,158.9 1,189.9 1,192.7 1,192.7
Nationalist Fergus McAteer 6.58% 573 573.36 588.36 589.36 599.36 611.36 618.36 741.36 802.36 808.54 835.54 839.54 847.04 1,089.04 1,091.9 1,091.9
SDLP Michael Durey 8.08% 703 703 704 712 716 717 721 738 773 781 888 892 898 955 956.86 958.86
SDLP Craig 8.38% 729 729.9 729.9 731.9 744.9 747.9 753.9 766.9 794.9 806.44 894.44 900.44 906.94 940.94 941.62 943.62
United Loyalist Walker 5.92% 515 565.04 565.04 565.22 566.22 567.22 568.22 568.22 568.22 568.22 568.4 584.84 597.84 598.02    
Republican Clubs S. Gallagher 2.54% 221 221.18 222.18 222.18 223.18 320.18 478.36 488.36 523.36 523.36 545.36 546.36 547.36      
Alliance Edith Roulston 3.45% 300 303.96 303.96 328.14 329.14 329.14 329.14 329.14 342.14 393.5 397.5          
SDLP A. Gallagher 3.26% 284 284.18 284.18 284.18 286.18 287.18 290.18 296.18 331.18 336.18            
Alliance Brian Brown 2.83% 246 249.06 249.06 270.06 287.5 288.5 288.68 292.68 304.68              
Independent Brendan Duddy 2.78% 242 242 243 244 262 264 269 287                
Nationalist Doherty 2.39% 208 208 209 213 221 222 223                  
Republican Clubs P. Gallagher 1.86% 162 162 163 163 164.18 188.36                    
Republican Clubs Sweeney 1.67% 145 145.18 145.18 145.18 146.18                      
Independent Bergin 1.33% 116 117.98 117.98 117.98                        
Alliance Commander 1.29% 112 112.9 113.9                          
Nationalist Geraldine O'Driscoll 0.26% 23 23                            
Electorate: 12,899   Valid: 8,704 (67.48%)   Spoilt: 153   Quota: 1,244   Turnout: 8,857 (68.66%)  

Aftermath

Even though the United Loyalists won the most votes, the SDLP won the most councillors with ten being elected to the United Loyalists' nine.[12] The nonsectarian Alliance Party of Northern Ireland won four, the Nationalist Party won three and one was won by the Republican Clubs.[12] The result gave parties supported by the city's Catholic community a majority on the council for the first time.[14] The SDLP were disappointed not to win a majority on the council. John Hume blamed this on transfers going to other parties, noting the United Loyalist voters in the Bogside had transferred to the Alliance Party, while Republican Club voters in Londonderry E had transferred to the Nationalist Party.[15]

The new council elected Raymond McClean of the SDLP as Mayor of Londonderry, only the second Catholic mayor in the city's history, while Jack Allen of the United Loyalists was elected as deputy mayor.[16]

Following the election, there had been disputes within the United Loyalists. Some members of the UUP once said to the DUP's Anna Hay, who had been elected to Londonderry B[12] and was the mother of the future Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly William Hay, that they had only "lent" her her seat due to the UUP being historically the stronger unionist party at the time.[17]

References

  1. ^ Hopley, Cherry-Lynne. "Beginning of the Troubles - Northern Ireland 1969". Academia.edu. Retrieved 20 June 2020.
  2. ^ Collins, Neil (2004). Political Issues in Ireland Today (3rd ed.). Manchester University Press. p. 65. ISBN 0719065712.
  3. ^ Ó Dochartaigh, Niall (2004). From civil rights to armalites (2nd ed.). Springer. p. 261. ISBN 0230006043.
  4. ^ "Derry unionists unite to fight elections". Irish Times. 11 April 1973.
  5. ^ Campbell, Sarah (4 February 2015). "New Nationalism? The S.D.L.P. and the creation of a socialist and labour party in Northern Ireland, 1969–75". Irish Historical Studies. 38 (151): 422–438. doi:10.1017/S0021121400001577. ISSN 0021-1214. Retrieved 20 June 2020 – via University of Cambridge.
  6. ^ a b c "SDLP target again in election feud". Irish Times. 30 May 1973.
  7. ^ "Nationalists restrict aims in Derry". Irish Times. 11 May 1973.
  8. ^ "About 2m vote in north and south". Irish Times. 31 May 1973.
  9. ^ "North-South vote of about 2 million". Irish Times. 31 May 1973.
  10. ^ "Unionists back to strength". Irish Times. 1 June 1973.
  11. ^ a b c d e f "Local Government Elections 1973 - 1981: Londonderry". ARK. 29 October 2003. Retrieved 20 June 2020.
  12. ^ a b c d e "Local Government Results 1973". EONI. Retrieved 8 July 2021.
  13. ^ Russell, Richard (2014). Modernity, Community and Plurality in Brian Friel's drama. Syracuse University Press. p. 153. ISBN 978-0815652342.
  14. ^ "Unionists top the council poll". Irish Times. 2 June 1973.
  15. ^ "Catholic mayor for Derry". Irish Times. 13 June 1973.
  16. ^ Newsroom, The (25 November 2010). "William recalls Council 'Hay' days". Londonderry Sentinel. Retrieved 20 June 2020.