On Thursday 18 May people across Northern Ireland voted to elect new local councils, two weeks after many voters in England did the same. Seats in 11 local councils were up for grabs using the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system. After weeks of campaigning and two days of counting, Sinn Féin recorded their best ever result in a local election winning 144 seats: an increase of 39 from the 2019 election. They are now the largest party in local government in Northern Ireland. The non-constitutionally aligned Alliance Party also increased its representation by winning 67 seats, seeing an increase of 14. The DUP won the same number of seats as it did in 2019 (122) while both the SDLP and UUP did badly.

Join Freya McClements, Northern Editor for The Irish Times, to analyse what all of this means for the politics of the region. How seriously should we treat these results as an indicator of national trends? What does the support given to Sinn Féin and Alliance mean for the region? Why are the SDLP and UUP doing so badly? And how far has the ongoing DUP boycott of Stormont hurt the party and influenced these trends?

There will be an opportunity to ask Freya questions live in the Q&A portion of the event, but you can also submit questions in advance. Please email us at islandofireland@caths.cam.ac.uk.


Freya McClements is the Northern Editor at the Irish Times and the co-author of Children of the Troubles: the Untold Story of the Children Killed in the Northern Ireland Conflict which won the Irish Book Awards ‘Best Irish-published Book of the Year’ award in 2019.

She will be in discussion with Dr Niamh Gallagher, lecturer in Modern British and Irish History at the University of Cambridge, a Fellow of St Catharine’s College, and co-convenor of the IOI series.


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