Ards Borough
Area376 km2 (145 sq mi) 
Ranked 20th of 26
District HQNewtownards
CountryNorthern Ireland
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
List of places
Northern Ireland

Ards (named after the Ards Peninsula) was a local government district in Northern Ireland with the status of borough. It was one of twenty-six districts formed on 1 October 1973, and had its headquarters in Newtownards. It was merged with neighbouring North Down on 1 May 2015 to form the new Borough of Ards and North Down. Other towns in the defunct Borough included Portaferry, Comber, and Donaghadee, and the population of the area was 78,078 according to the 2011 census.

Strangford Lough is at the heart of the area, and is the largest inlet in Ireland with internationally renowned wildlife. The Irish Sea coast stretches from Donaghadee to Portaferry. Mount Stewart, a National Trust property on the shore of Strangford Lough, is in the area, as well as Northern Ireland's only aquarium, Exploris, in Portaferry and Grace Neill's pub in Donaghadee.[citation needed]

Borough council

The borough was governed by Ards Borough Council (Ulster-Scots: Burgh Cooncil o' the Airds, Newton an' Blathewick). The borough was divided into four district electoral areas: Newtownards, Ards West, Ards East and Ards Peninsula, from which 23 members were elected. As of February 2011 the following parties were represented on the council: 11 Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), 6 Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), 4 Alliance Party, and 1 Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), and there was 1 Independent councillor.[1] The next election was due to take place in May 2009, but on 25 April 2008, Shaun Woodward, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland announced that the scheduled 2009 district council elections were to be postponed until the introduction of the eleven new councils in 2011.[2] The proposed reforms were abandoned in 2010, and district council elections took place in 2011[3]

Mayor of Ards

On creation in 1973 Ards District Council adopted the charter of incorporation of the municipal borough of Newtownards, to become Ards Borough Council. The charter also granted the chairman of the council the title "Mayor of Ards".[4]

Year Name Political affiliation Deputy Deputy's affiliation
1973 - 75 John Algie Ulster Unionist D. Hamilton Ulster Unionist
1975 - 77 Henry Cosbey Ulster Unionist J. B. Caughey Independent
1977 - 79 John Scott Ulster Unionist Hamilton McKeag Ulster Unionist
1979 - 81 Hamilton McKeag Ulster Unionist Robert Gaw NI Labour
1981 - 83 Robert Gaw NI Labour Jim McBriar Alliance
1983 - 84 Jim McBriar Alliance Oliver Johnston DUP
1984 - 85 Oliver Johnston DUP Gladys McIntyre UPUP
1985 - 86 Gladys McIntyre UPUP Robert Ambrose Ulster Unionist
1986 - 87 Robert Ambrose Ulster Unionist Simpson Gibson DUP
1987 - 88 Simpson Gibson DUP Tom Benson Ulster Unionist
1988 - 89 Tom Benson Ulster Unionist John Hamilton DUP
1989–1990 John Hamilton DUP Robert Gibson Ulster Unionist
1990 - 91 Robert Gibson Ulster Unionist Jim Shannon DUP
1991 - 92 Jim Shannon DUP David Smyth Ulster Unionist
1992 - 93 David Smyth Ulster Unionist Wilbert Magill DUP
1993 - 94 Wilbert Magill DUP John Shields Ulster Unionist
1994 - 95 John Shields Ulster Unionist St Clair McAlister DUP
1995 - 96 St Clair McAlister DUP Robert Gibson Ulster Unionist
June - December 1996 Robert Gibson Ulster Unionist Ronnie Ferguson Ulster Unionist
January - June 1998 Ronnie Ferguson Ulster Unionist George Ennis DUP
June 1998 - June 1999 George Ennis DUP Alan McDowell Alliance
1999–2000 Alan McDowell Alliance Tom Hamilton Ulster Unionist
2000 - 01 Tom Hamilton Ulster Unionist Margaret Craig DUP
2001 - 02 Margaret Craig DUP Jeff Magill Ulster Unionist
2002 - 03 Jeff Magill Ulster Unionist Jim McBriar Alliance
2003 - 04 Jim McBriar Alliance Hamilton Gregory DUP
2004 - 05 Hamilton Gregory DUP Angus Carson Ulster Unionist
2005 - 06 Terry Williams DUP Angus Carson Ulster Unionist
2006 - 07 Angus Carson Ulster Unionist Robin Drysdale DUP
2007 - 08 Robin Drysdale DUP Jim Fletcher Ulster Unionist
2008 - 09 Jim Fletcher Ulster Unionist William Montgomery DUP
2009 - 10 William Montgomery DUP David Smyth Ulster Unionist
2010 - 11[1] David Smyth Ulster Unionist Mervyn Oswald DUP
2011 - 12 Mervyn Oswald DUP Hamilton Gregory DUP
2012 - 2013 Hamilton Gregory DUP Stephen McIlveen DUP

2013 Stephen McIlveen Democratic Unionist Party

Source: Freedom of Information request to Ards Borough Council

Parliamentary and assembly representation

In elections for the Westminster Parliament and Northern Ireland Assembly most of the borough was included in the Strangford constituency, with part (Donaghadee North, Donaghadee South and Millisle) in the North Down constituency.[5]

Town twinning

The borough of Ards had a sister city (twinning) relationship with the city of Peoria, Arizona, USA. As a result of this relationship, regular exchange visits were made between the two communities by artists, educators, business, political and community leaders.

See also


  1. ^ a b "Councillors". Ards Borough Council. Archived from the original on 16 May 2011. Retrieved 18 February 2011.
  2. ^ Northern Ireland elections are postponed, BBC News, April 25, 2008, accessed April 27, 2008
  3. ^ "The executive fails to agree a deal on council reform". BBC News. 15 June 2010. Archived from the original on 18 June 2010. Retrieved 8 July 2010.
  4. ^ the Charter of the Corporation of the Borough of Newtownards shall have effect in relation to the District of Ards... the name in the Charter shall be changed to Ards Borough Council."No. 2917". The Belfast Gazette. 24 August 1973. p. 529.
  5. ^ Statutory Instrument 2008 No. 1486 (section Schedule) The Parliamentary Constituencies (Northern Ireland) Order 2008 (Coming into force 25 June 2008)

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