Independent Rowallene Councillor Terry Andrews Moves Over To The SDLP

Andrews Gets Rowallene  SDLP Nomination AND McCarthy Steps Aside 

TERRY Andrews, Independent Down District Councillor, has now joined the ranks of the SDLP on Down District Council and will be running for them as a council candidate in the shadow council election in May. And within days of the announcement, Councillor Maria McCarthy has said she will not be participating in the May 2015 election.  She is the sixth SDLP councillor to opt out of the ‘shadow council’ election, the others retiring due to long service in the party and deciding to make way for a younger generation of politicians.

The ‘shadow council’ will run for one year and will be a transitional bridge between the councils of  Newry and Mourne and Down District until the full South Down new super council of Newry, Mourne and Down emerges in 2015. This shadow council will liaise with the present two councils and the councillors elected to it will continue on as full councillors into the new council.

[caption id="attachment_41982" align="alignleft" width="350"]Councillor Terry Andrews has joined the SDLP and will be running in the Rowallene District Electoral Area. Councillor Terry Andrews has joined the SDLP and will be running in the Rowallene District Electoral Area.[/caption]

Performing strongly in the last Down District Council election three years ago as an Independent, Terry Andrews topped 704 first preference votes close on the heels of standing SDLP councillor Maria McCarthy’s  who took 809. He is once again tipped to perform strongly at the polls. Pat McKay who also ran for the SDLP with Maria only took 115 first preference votes and was not elected.

As a former party grass roots activist and someone who works between all communities, Terry Andrews had been tipped to run in the previous council election for the SDLP.

The speculation that Maria McCarthy may not run again in the Rowallene area was confirmed on Wednesday following Terry Andrews’  announcement. Councillor McCarthy has decided not to run in the Rowallene area for the SDLP  and appears to have withdrawn from the election.

She has been busy over the past twelve months as Down District Council Chairman and also got married and her position as possible election candidate for Rowallene which was under close wraps has finally been revealed. However, this decision is likely to be announced following the SDLP selection convention this coming Sunday.

To date a number of SDLP party stalwarts have decided to call it it day and retire from the political ring. In Newcastle Eamonn O’Neill retired in December making way for Laura Devlin, and Cllr Carmel O’Boyle too is stepping down. In Ballynahinch, Patsy Toman and Anne McAleenan are both stepping back and will be replaced by Mark Murnin and Shane King. Downpatrick Councillor John Doris has also decided to call it a day.

[caption id="attachment_48272" align="alignright" width="196"]Councillor Maria McCarthy, Chairman of Down District Council, speaking at a recent health meeting in Ballynahinch. Councillor Maria McCarthy, Chairman of Down District Council, speaking at a recent health meeting in Ballynahinch.[/caption]

The change in the boundaries of the Rowallene DEA may mean that for the SDLP there is only one full quota of votes and again a hard decision may have to be made who carries the SDLP banner in Rowallene. With five seats up for grabs, the possible likely outcome is DUP 2, UUP 2 and SDLP 1 in this mainly Unionist constituency.

Reflecting on his past few years in politics, Terry Andrews  said: “It is hard to believe that it is three years since the May  election in 2011 when I was elected as an Independent for the Rowallene Electoral Council Area.

“I have been immensely proud of the support I have received from the good people of the district gave me on that occasion and have entrusted me with the role of Councillor working on their behalf at Council level. I have worked at other levels too making their voice heard and have dealt with issue and matters  that are dear to them. I have also worked closely with Rowallene Councillors Maria McCarthy, William Walker, William Dick and Robert Burgess, on a range of issues for the betterment of the area we serve.

“These principles are the same and to me will always be the in the role of an elected representative.  A short time ago I contacted the Chief Executive of Down District Council to inform him by writing that I will be changing from an Independent Councillor to joining with immediate effect the political grouping of the SDLP in the chamber.

“I look forward to the challenges that lay ahead now and I will be working with Councillors walker and Dick and the rest of the Council team on a wide range of issues for the remaining months of this council. And as I had said at the start of this statement, the electorate of Rowallene have entrusted me to do the job they have elected me to do as one of their councillors and I will carry on as usual doing the best for everyone in the constituency.”

Terry explained he will be working flat out now until the 22 May to once again reach all the people of his constituency  in the run up to the election.

He said: “It is business as usual. Bread and butter issues are very important and that is what almost everyone is looking help with.”