Did you know there’s an election happening?

10 October 2018 - by Adam Newton

Since May 2014, the electorate in Northern Ireland has gone to the polls on no fewer than seven occasions.

This includes a local government election, a European Parliament election, two Northern Ireland Assembly elections, two general elections and the referendum on membership of the European Union. Add into this the West Tyrone by-election and the North Antrim recall petition, it is safe to say that the voters have earned a short break.

One election that may have slipped under the radar is the Carrick Castle by-election, which is taking place on Thursday 18 October. This election was called following the untimely death of long-standing independent councillor Jim Brown. 

Given Brown’s independent status, there was no way of replacing him via the co-option model that was introduced following the Review of Public Administration. This means that a party can replace any of its councillors without the need for a by-election, which in turn removed the cost of by-elections.

The pending contest sees five candidates throwing their names into the ring. They are Lauren Gray, Alliance Party; Si Harvey, Democrats and Veteran Party; Peter Johnston, DUP; John McDermott, UUP; and Will Sibley, independent.

The successful candidate, however, will not have long to get their feet under the table of local government, with the next election scheduled for May 2019. This is the third time that voters will have cast ballots in 2018.

Will it be the last?