Thousands of voters are set to head to polls again on Thursday across Northern Ireland, as local council elections allow ‘Brexit’ to take a short term back-seat.
Voters are suffering from election fatigue, though. This election marks the 6th major election in 6 years, with a 7th election now hot on its heels. (Late May will see the UK – of which Northern Ireland is a part – now run in the upcoming European elections).
Apathy is said to be running high and indications are that overall voter turn out is expected to be low.
Like everything in the British Isles, the weather will likely play its part.
So will anything really change from the ‘norm’ of tribal politics in Northern Ireland, in this week’s local council elections?
‘Brexit’ remains high on the agenda and recent developments surrounding the death of journalist Lyra McKee by the dissident Republican group, the ‘New IRA’ have added a new twist.
Public demands for talks to resume to get Northern Ireland’s Assembly at Stormont up and running again have been mounting.
However all of this has been yet another strong deterrent from anyone actually even knowing about – let alone caring – about this Thursday’s upcoming polling day.
The Republic of Ireland’s Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney stated last Friday that Northern Ireland’s politicians must end their “excuses” and re-establish the Northern Ireland power-sharing political institutions. He added, “We owe that to the memory of Lyra.”
The British Government’s Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Karen Bradley, together with Mr Coveney, stated last Friday that talks between the main political parties in Northern Ireland would resume again on 7th May.
This allows time for the local council elections to be carried out and digested.
Voters will elect from a confirmed number of 819 people nominated for this week’s local Government elections.
The political party fielding the most candidates for this election is the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), with 172 candidates, followed by Sinn Fein with 155, the Ulster Unionists with 117, SDLP with 85 and Alliance Party with 84 candidates put forward.
Time will tell if Northern Ireland is ready to move on from its traditional ‘green and orange’ tribal politics with this Thursday’s election.
Don’t hedge any bets on it.
The odds are pretty terrible.