Magherafelt District Council

Magherafelt District Council

Magherafelt District Council is a Local Council in County Londonderry in Northern Ireland. Council headquarters are in Magherafelt (Machaire Fíolta in Irish) . The Council area stretches from Lough Neagh and the River Bann in the east and into the Sperrin Mountains in the west and is divided by the Moyola River. It covers an area of 214 square miles and has a current population of over 39,500. Local towns in the area include Bellaghy, birthplace of poet Seamus Heaney in 1939.

The Council is composed of 16 elected representatives. Local elections are held every four years on a Proportional Representation system. At the last election in May 2005 those elected were from the following political parties: 8 Sinn Féin, 4 Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), 2 Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) and 2 Ulster Unionist Party (UUP). The Chairman and Vice Chairman are elected on an annual basis at the Annual General Meeting in June. The current Chairman is Councillor Kate McEldowney(Sinn Féin) and the Vice Chairman is Cllr Anne Forde (DUP). Both represent the Sperrin Electoral Area. It is believed this is the first instance of two women occupying the two senior posts in a district or borough council in Northern Ireland.

In elections for the Westminster Parliament it is part of the Mid Ulster constituency.

2005 Election results

Party seats change +/-
Sinn Féin 8 +1
Democratic Unionist Party 4 +1
Social Democratic and Labour Party 2 -1
Ulster Unionist Party 2 =
Independent 0 -1

Review of Public Administration

Under the Review of Public Administration (RPA) the Council is due to merge with Cookstown District Council and Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council in 2011 to form a single council for the enlarged area totalling 1714 km² and a population of 120, 096. The next election was due to take place in May 2009, but on April 25, 2008, Shaun Woodward, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland announced that the scheduled 2009 district council elections were to be postponed until the introduction of the eleven new councils in 2011.

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