The local DUP group met last night (Thursday) to choose a number of candidates for the May election to the new ‘super-council’ that will take in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon, the so-called ABC council.
Indications before the meeting were that three DUP hopefuls would stand in the Portadown Ward, two in Craigavon and three in Lurgan – a total of eight – but just six are certain, with two ‘hopefuls’.
Members were being tight-lipped over the choice, but the Portadown Times has learned that the most likely line-up in the Portadown Ward is - Darryn Causby and Johnny Buckley, plus A.N.Other, with the area including Loughgall, formerly part of the Orchard Ward in Armagh.
Mr Causby, currently a Craigavon councillor, is likely to pull in the most votes. Mr Buckley – who was co-opted to replace Sydney Anderson MLA - is an unknown quantity. The third will be known at the weekend.
Current Craigavon DUP council members Gladys McCullough and Alan Carson are standing down, with Mrs McCullough retiring from public life and Mr Carson giving more time to his family and his job at Almac Sciences.
The Portadown area will have six wards - Loughgall, The Birches, Mahon, Ballybay, Corcrain and Killicomaine. While each ward represents a seat on the council, councillors are not elected to a particular ward.
The Craigavon DUP choices are more or less cut and dried – long-serving council member Robert Smith and new member Margaret Tinsley. The five Craigavon wards are - Derrytrasna, Craigavon Centre, Kernan, Brownlow and Bleary, with Craigavon losing a large slice of Killicomaine.
Ex-Mayor Carla Lockhart and Philip Moutray are the most likely in Lurgan and the party was last night pondering whether or not to run a third member.
They were also making choices for the Banbridge area, which includes Gilford, and for Cusher which brings in Tandragee and Markethill.
The Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council (ABC) Local Government District would have 41 wards, 41 councillors and a total electorate of almost 140,000.