1981 Belfast City Council election
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← 1977 20 May 1981 1985 →

All 51 seats to Belfast City Council
26 seats needed for a majority
  First party Second party Third party
 
Party DUP Ulster Unionist Alliance
Seats won 15 13 7
Seat change Increase 8 Decrease 2 Decrease 6

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
 
Party SDLP People's Democracy Irish Republican Socialist
Seats won 6 2 2
Seat change Decrease 2 Increase 2 Increase 2

  Seventh party Eighth party Ninth party
 
Party PUP Ulster Democratic Unionist Party NI
Seats won 1 1 1
Seat change Increase 1 Increase 1 Decrease 1

Lord Mayor before election

John Carson
Ulster Unionist

Lord Mayor

Grace Bannister
Ulster Unionist

Elections to Belfast City Council were held on 20 May 1981 on the same day as the other Northern Irish local government elections. The election used nine district electoral areas to elect a total of 51 councillors, most representing the more heavily populated north and west.

The DUP became the largest party, overtaking the UUP, while Grace Bannister from the UUP became the first female Lord Mayor.

Election results

Belfast Local Election Result 1981[1]
Party Seats Gains Losses Net gain/loss Seats % Votes % Votes +/−
  DUP 15 8 0 Increase8 29.4 25.8 33,433 Increase12.5
  Ulster Unionist 13 1 3 Decrease2 25.5 23.7 30,685 Decrease3.1
  Alliance 7 0 6 Decrease6 13.7 13.2 17,164 Decrease5.4
  SDLP 6 0 2 Decrease2 11.8 14.1 18,227 Decrease4.5
  People's Democracy 2 2 0 New 3.9 3.7 4,734 New
  Irish Republican Socialist 2 2 0 New 3.9 2.6 3,418 New
  Ulster Democratic 1 1 0 New 0 2.3 2,989 New
  PUP 1 1 0 New 2.0 1.9 2,434 New
  Unionist Party NI 1 0 1 Decrease1 2.0 2.2 2,859 Decrease2.8
  Ind. Unionist 1 0 1 Decrease1 2.0 1.9 2,540 Decrease2.2
  Independent Socialist 1 1 0 Increase1 2.0 1.5 1,884 Increase1.4
  Anti H-Block 1 1 0 New 2.0 0.8 1,070 New
  Republican Clubs 0 0 3 Decrease3 0 3.9 4,993 Decrease0.8
  NI Labour 0 0 0 Steady 0 1.4 1,824 Decrease1.2
  Independent 0 0 1 Decrease1 0.0 0.7 933 Decrease2.5
  UPUP 0 0 0 New 0 0.1 187 New
  Independent Nationalist 0 0 0 Steady 0 0.1 167 Increase0.1
  Communist Party 0 0 0 Steady 0 0.1 97 Steady

Note: "Votes" are the first preference votes.

Districts summary

Results of the Belfast City Council election, 1981
by district[1]
Ward %
Cllrs
%
Cllrs
%
Cllrs
%
Cllrs
%
Cllrs
%
Cllrs
%
Cllrs
%
Cllrs
%
Cllrs
%
Cllrs
Total
Cllrs
DUP UUP Alliance SDLP PD IRSP UDP UPNI PUP Others
Area A 39.3 3 33.5 3 12.1 1 9.2 0 0.0 0 0.0 0 0.0 0 0.0 0 0.0 0 5.9 0 7
Area B 33.5 2 26.8 2 23.0 2 1.1 0 0.0 0 0.0 0 2.0 0 11.0 1 0.0 0 2.6 0 7
Area C 21.6 2 33.6 2 28.6 2 9.4 0 0.0 0 0.0 0 0.0 0 3.3 0 0.0 0 3.3 0 6
Area D 0.0 0 3.3 0 5.3 0 44.8 3 17.0 1 10.9 1 0.0 0 0.0 0 0.0 0 18.7 1 6
Area E 35.1 2 22.1 2 5.8 0 3.5 0 0.0 0 0.0 0 6.5 0 0.0 0 11.1 0 15.9 1 6
Area F 26.4 2 18.4 1 10.0 1 20.8 1 0.0 0 15.2 1 0.0 0 0.0 0 0.0 0 9.3 0 6
Area G 24.8 2 17.7 1 3.1 0 7.5 0 19.6 1 0.0 0 14.3 1 0.0 0 0.0 0 13.0 0 6
Area H 21.7 2 27.4 2 11.5 1 19.6 1 0.0 0 0.0 0 0.0 0 0.0 0 2.5 0 17.3 1 7
Total 25.8 15 23.7 13 13.2 7 14.1 6 3.7 2 2.6 2 2.3 1 2.2 1 1.9 1 10.5 3 51

District results

Area A

1977: 2 x UUP, 2 x DUP, 2 x Alliance, 1 x SDLP
1981: 3 x DUP, 3 x UUP, 1 x Alliance
1977-1981 Change: DUP and UUP gain from Alliance and SDLP

Area A - 7 seats[2]
Party Candidate FPv% Count
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
DUP John Foster 18.32% 3,333                            
Ulster Unionist Jeremy Burchill 14.23% 2,589                            
DUP Raymond McCrea* 12.87% 2,342                            
DUP Sammy Wilson 8.13% 1,479 2,431.64                          
Ulster Unionist Grace Bannister* 11.29% 2,055 2,081.88 2,202 2,265 2,285.64                    
Alliance Donnell Deeny 7.91% 1,439 1,440.92 1,447.52 1,449.41 1,450.05 1,460.09 1,464.57 1,477.81 1,553.17 1,560.49 1,645.85 1,657.44 2,463.44    
Ulster Unionist William Blair* 4.95% 900 918.56 1,024.64 1,054.7 1,067.14 1,072.27 1,101.76 1,211.3 1,250.36 1,250.36 1,258.63 1,742.86 1,793.34 1,936.94 1,944.62
SDLP Alasdair McDonnell* 6.94% 1,262 1,263.6 1,263.84 1,264.02 1,264.34 1,272.66 1,272.66 1,273.66 1,291.66 1,660.75 1,856.1 1,856.27 1,889.76 1,932.16 1,932.16
Alliance Mervyn Jones 4.21% 766 771.44 770.16 779.69 781.21 787.21 791.6 808.62 907.05 913.05 964.37 984.13      
Ulster Unionist Tony Wilkins 2.99% 544 569.28 611.76 634.26 645.94 650.19 669.27 721.95 733.24 734.24 736.33        
Republican Clubs Francis Cullen 2.30% 418 419.28 419.52 419.88 419.88 445.01 446.33 446.76 467.3 483.3          
SDLP Patrick McGourty 2.25% 410 410.64 410.76 410.85 410.89 412.89 412.89 412.89 419.98            
NI Labour Derek Peters 1.52% 276 278.24 278.72 279.44 279.8 297.89 306.35 310.55              
UPUP Benjamin Horan 1.03% 187 196.28 206.12 223.31 228.67 230.67 239.44                
Independent John McKeague 0.54% 99 103.8 107.88 116.34 120.94 126.26                  
Communist Party James Stewart 0.25% 97 98.92 99.52 100.15 100.51                    
Electorate: 31,215   Valid: 18,196 (58.29%)   Spoilt: 937   Quota: 2,275   Turnout: 19,133 (61.29%)  

Area B

1977: 3 x UUP, 2 x Alliance, 1 x DUP, 1 x UPNI
1981: 2 x DUP, 2 x UUP, 1 x Alliance, 1 x UPNI
1977-1981 Change: DUP gain from UUP

Area B - 7 seats[2]
Party Candidate FPv% Count
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Alliance Oliver Napier* 12.41% 2,631 2,719                
Alliance Michael Brown* 7.55% 1,602 1,653 1,671 1,706.2 1,923 1,929 2,641.4      
DUP Henry Evans* 11.85% 2,513 2,513 2,546 2,546 2,554 2,571 2,574 3,090    
DUP Bill Morrison 10.15% 2,152 2,152 2,201 2,201 2,214 2,243 2,243 2,481 2,765.8  
Ulster Unionist Thomas Patton* 9.81% 2,081 2,081 2,195 2,195.8 2,264.8 2,411.8 2,418.8 2,443.8 2,450.92 2,839.92
Unionist Party NI Joshua Cardwell* 10.97% 2,327 2,336 2,363 2,363.8 2,428.4 2,472.4 2,487.2 2,519.2 2,529.88 2,710.88
Ulster Unionist William Corry 8.17% 1,733 1,733 1,737 1,737 1,744 1,919 1,930 1,938 1,944.23 2,703.23
DUP Samuel Foster 6.90% 1,464 1,465 1,521 1,521 1,525 1,535 1,537 1,695 1,808.92 1,865.92
Ulster Unionist Dorothy Dunlop* 5.88% 1,248 1,249 1,261 1,261 1,278 1,452 1,459 1,478 1,490.46  
DUP Albert Greer 4.62% 979 979 1,009 1,009 1,018 1,026 1,026      
Alliance Samuel Coulson 3.05% 647 660 663 683 784.6 792.6        
Ulster Unionist John Kennedy 2.89% 613 614 620 620 628          
NI Labour David McKee 2.58% 548 587 602 611.6            
Ulster Democratic Louis Scott 2.05% 434 439                
SDLP Peter Prendiville 1.11% 236                  
Electorate: 35,901   Valid: 21,208 (59.07%)   Spoilt: 630   Quota: 2,652   Turnout: 21,838 (60.83%)  

Area C

1977: 3 x Alliance, 2 x UUP, 1 x UPNI
1981: 2 x UUP, 2 x Alliance, 2 x DUP
1977-1981 Change: DUP (two seats) gain from Alliance and UPNI

Area C - 6 seats[2]
Party Candidate FPv% Count
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Alliance David Cook* 15.65% 2,493                
Alliance Muriel Pritchard* 7.27% 1,158 1,217.52 1,280.08 1,347.72 1,362.88 2,376.96      
Ulster Unionist Andrew Cairns* 12.13% 1,933 1,937.32 1,942.32 2,166.88 2,187.88 2,202.84 2,835.84    
Ulster Unionist Mary Crooks* 13.18% 2,099 2,104.2 2,111.1 2,191.6 2,216.76 2,260.24 2,828.24    
DUP Brian Gibson 9.43% 1,503 1,504.04 1,505.12 1,529.12 1,720.12 1,727.12 1,805.48 2,040.48 2,229.48
DUP William Stevenson 7.62% 1,214 1,214.32 1,214.32 1,222.32 1,687.56 1,694.8 1,753.28 1,872.28 1,971.28
SDLP Ben Caraher 9.42% 1,501 1,508.6 1,792.12 1,795.12 1,795.12 1,828.96 1,843.44 1,845.44 1,850.44
Ulster Unionist John Gilmore 8.32% 1,326 1,330.72 1,336.88 1,396.04 1,411.12 1,421      
Alliance William Jeffrey* 5.73% 913 1,021 1,108.48 1,150.2 1,156.44        
DUP Thomas McIntyre 4.58% 729 729.8 730.8 744.88          
Unionist Party NI Victor Brennan* 3.34% 532 534.72 536.72            
Republican Clubs Gerard Carr 3.33% 530 532.96              
Electorate: 28,354   Valid: 15,931 (56.19%)   Spoilt: 529   Quota: 2,276   Turnout: 16,460 (58.05%)  

Area D

1977: 4 x SDLP, 1 x Republican Clubs, 1 x Alliance
1981: 3 x SDLP, 1 x People's Democracy, 1 x IRSP, 1 x Independent Socialist
1977-1981 Change: People's Democracy and IRSP gain from Republican Clubs and Alliance, Independent Socialist leaves SDLP

Area D - 6 seats[2]
Party Candidate FPv% Count
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
SDLP Joe Hendron 26.20% 4,291                  
People's Democracy John McAnulty 16.98% 2,781                  
SDLP Cormac Boomer* 12.64% 2,070 2,919.16                
SDLP Mary Muldoon* 3.88% 636 987.44 1,143.37 1,148.3 1,166.98 1,187.34 1,191.34 1,917.48 1,937.84 2,262.01
Irish Republican Socialist Gerry Kelly 5.84% 957 1,015.88 1,020.22 1,238.16 1,276.77 1,284.95 1,285.95 1,302.89 2,185.21 2,197.01
Independent Socialist Paddy Devlin* 8.20% 1,343 1,515.1 1,560.45 1,573.88 1,616 1,659.4 1,668.4 1,741.36 1,787.23 2,058.99
Republican Clubs Mary McMahon 6.87% 1,125 1,176.52 1,185.2 1,193.87 1,211.85 1,546.39 1,547.39 1,604.52 1,628.3 1,738.82
Alliance Dan McGuinness* 4.43% 725 781.12 795.69 797.22 883.01 895.93 1,064.93 1,108.6 1,116.83  
Irish Republican Socialist William Browning 5.02% 822 846.84 854.9 1,012.49 1,041.67 1,046.52 1,049.52 1,066.12    
SDLP Anne McElroy 2.11% 346 642.7 962.93 974.49 1,008.88 1,034.96 1,040.27      
Ulster Unionist John Hand 2.92% 538 538 538.31 538.48 555.48 558.48        
Republican Clubs Kevin Smyth 2.67% 438 467.9 471.93 476.01 488.35          
Independent Nationalist Liam Hunter* 1.02% 167 189.54 192.95 200.77            
Alliance Robert Turkington 0.84% 137 146.2 146.51 147.36            
Electorate: 35,812   Valid: 16,376 (45.73%)   Spoilt: 1,060   Quota: 2,340   Turnout: 17,436 (48.69%)  

Area E

1977: 2 x UUP, 1 x DUP, 1 x Alliance, 1 x Independent, 1 x Independent Unionist
1981: 2 x DUP, 2 x UUP, 1 x PUP, 1 x Anti H-Block
1977-1981 Change: DUP and Anti H-Block gain from Alliance and Independent, Independent Unionist joins PUP

Area E - 6 seats[2]
Party Candidate FPv% Count
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
DUP George Haffey 23.73% 4,142                      
Ulster Unionist Billy Bell* 17.79% 3,105                      
DUP George Seawright 11.39% 1,989 3,442.6                    
PUP Hugh Smyth* 11.06% 1,931 1,957 2,177.72 2,204.72 2,220.72 2,229.72 2,231.92 2,234.12 2,311.85 2,316.36 2,548.36  
Ulster Unionist Alfie Ferguson* 2.10% 367 395.4 625.42 989.62 990.24 1,016.79 1,017.3 1,019.1 1,375.09 1,380.69 1,789.06 2,200.15
Anti H-Block Laurence Kennedy 6.13% 1,070 1,070 1,070 1,070 1,092 1,100.2 1,184.2 1,510 1,510 1,890 1,892.86 1,904.97
Alliance Samuel Egerton* 5.79% 1,011 1,017.8 1,033.92 1,062.72 1,090.92 1,165.83 1,169.83 1,186.83 1,207.67 1,500.67 1,569.39 1,706.56
Ulster Democratic Samuel Doyle 6.50% 1,135 1,164.2 1,257.82 1,293.42 1,294.42 1,312.53 1,316.24 1,318.44 1,359.66 1,367.28 1,481.88  
Ind. Unionist Fred Proctor* 3.96% 692 754.4 982.56 1,032.36 1,032.36 1,046.89 1,050.29 1,053.2 1,129.37 1,130.88    
SDLP Alphonsus Maginness 3.54% 618 618 618.62 619.42 663.42 678.42 719.42 863.82 864.44      
Ulster Unionist James Sands 2.21% 386 413.2 546.81 639.61 640.61 655.16 656.16 657.16        
Independent Patrick Hunter 1.84% 321 324.2 324.82 325.62 332.62 345.13 524.13          
Independent James Weir* 1.78% 311 311.8 313.35 313.95 322.95 329.95            
Independent Peter Emerson 1.16% 202 203.6 214.45 220.45 232.76              
Republican Clubs Margaret McNulty 1.01% 177 177 178.86 179.06                
Electorate: 28,598   Valid: 17,457 (61.04%)   Spoilt: 624   Quota: 2,494   Turnout: 18,081 (63.22%)  

Area F

1977: 2 x UUP, 1 x SDLP, 1 x DUP, 1 x Republican Clubs, 1 x Alliance
1981: 2 x DUP, 1 x SDLP, 1 x DUP, 1 x IRSP, 1 x Alliance
1977-1981 Change: DUP and IRSP gain from UUP and Republican Clubs

Area F - 6 seats[2]
Party Candidate FPv% Count
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
DUP William Dickson* 17.80% 1,913                  
Irish Republican Socialist Sean Flynn 15.25% 1,639                  
SDLP Owen Allen* 8.36% 898 898.4 923.88 938.01 1,045.03 1,242.88 1,244.88 1,784.88    
Alliance Will Glendinning* 7.85% 844 852 865 1,036.69 1,060.21 1,102.06 1,176.59 1,350.01 1,498.97 1,603.97
DUP Eric Smyth 8.60% 924 1,203.2 1,203.98 1,204.44 1,207.57 1,211.97 1,304.57 1,308.57 1,317.39 1,512.99
Ulster Unionist James Stewart* 6.69% 719 742.6 742.86 742.86 742.86 753.99 969.39 969.59 970.57 1,460.35
Republican Clubs Jim Sullivan* 9.32% 1,002 1,002 1,013.7 1,024.96 1,048.74 1,093.43 1,095.43 1,147.29 1,232.55 1,235.53
Ulster Unionist Linda Cust 5.94% 638 663.2 663.33 667.33 667.33 674.93 920.13 921.13 925.05  
SDLP Maurice Fitzmaurice 6.69% 719 719.4 737.21 739.6 764.29 868.06 869.06      
Ulster Unionist Harry Fletcher* 5.78% 621 651 651.13 652.33 652.33 661.73        
SDLP Mary Smyth 3.62% 389 395.2 406.64 410.16 458.8          
SDLP Thomas Lappin 2.11% 227 227 243.64 245.9            
Alliance Paul Maguire 2.00% 215 215.4 219.56              
Electorate: 18,575   Valid: 10,748 (57.86%)   Spoilt: 680   Quota: 1,536   Turnout: 11,428 (61.52%)  

Area G

1977: 2 x UUP, 1 x SDLP, 1 x DUP, 1 x Republican Clubs, 1 x Alliance
1981: 2 x DUP, 1 x UUP, 1 x SDLP, 1 x IRSP, 1 x UDP
1977-1981 Change: DUP, IRSP and UDP gain from UUP, Republican Clubs and Alliance

Area G - 6 seats[2]
Party Candidate FPv% Count
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
DUP Frederick Ashby* 20.84% 2,076            
People's Democracy Fergus O'Hare 19.60% 1,953            
Ulster Democratic Samuel Millar 14.25% 1,420 1,437.36          
Ulster Unionist Cecil Walker* 11.77% 1,173 1,186.33 1,188.09 1,233.71 1,642.71    
SDLP Brian Feeney 7.52% 749 749.31 1,033.55 1,102.63 1,108.94 1,110.6 1,419.23
DUP Joseph Coggle 3.93% 392 979.76 980.64 1,000.88 1,143.04 1,323.15 1,375.7
Republican Clubs Seamus Lynch* 7.53% 750 750.31 899.03 941.95 944.95 946.61 1,209.77
Independent Socialist Gerry Fitt* 5.43% 541 542.24 602.08 696.79 729.03 762.23  
Ulster Unionist Herbert Ditty* 5.97% 595 610.19 610.19 642.19      
Alliance Philip McGarry 3.14% 313 315.48 348.04        
Electorate: 17,207   Valid: 9,962 (57.90%)   Spoilt: 374   Quota: 1,424   Turnout: 10,336 (60.07%)  

Area H

1977: 2 x UUP, 2 x Alliance, 1 x SDLP, 1 x DUP, 1 x Independent Unionist
1981: 2 x UUP, 2 x DUP, 1 x SDLP, 1 x Alliance, 1 x Independent Unionist
1977-1981 Change: DUP gain from Alliance

Area H - 7 seats[2]
Party Candidate FPv% Count
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Ulster Unionist John Carson* 25.37% 5,014                
SDLP Paschal O'Hare* 15.47% 3,057                
DUP William Annon* 15.23% 3,010                
Ind. Unionist Frank Millar* 9.35% 1,848 2,438.07 2,438.64 2,464.2 2,581.2        
Alliance John Cushnahan* 8.80% 1,739 1,881.8 1,918.09 1,923.85 1,928.54 1,928.54 2,046.59 2,500.59  
Ulster Unionist Raymond Trimble 2.06% 408 1,729.92 1,729.92 1,736.58 1,770.19 1,782.19 1,786.19 1,978.92 2,295.92
DUP William Gault 4.11% 813 990.48 990.48 1,423.38 1,506 1,530 1,532.87 1,993.65 2,239.65
SDLP Alban Maginness 4.14% 818 829.22 1,336.52 1,336.52 1,336.52 1,336.52 1,593.23 1,613.71 1,723.71
NI Labour Alan Carr 5.06% 1,000 1,091.8 1,095.6 1,110.54 1,231.25 1,246.25 1,334.79 1,397.21  
Alliance Robert Jamison* 2.69% 531 646.26 651.58 653.2 655.2 659.2 676.84    
DUP Pauline Strong 2.36% 466 510.37 510.37 555.01 611.88 630.88 630.88    
Republican Clubs Liam Clarke 2.80% 553 560.14 579.52 580.42 580.42 580.42      
PUP David Overend 2.55% 503 520.85 521.04 524.1          
Electorate: 33,505   Valid: 19,760 (58.98%)   Spoilt: 720   Quota: 2,471   Turnout: 20,480 (61.13%)  

References

  1. ^ a b "Belfast Council results". 27 July 2011. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Local Government Results 1981". EONI. Retrieved 8 July 2021.