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It really was a case of "May the Fourth be with you" at Newry Sports Centre just before 1am this morning when Independent local election candidate for Newry, Gavin Malone topped the poll and them some, polling over a fifth of the vote receiving a massive 2296 first preference votes. It was a long days counting before the Newry count could get underway just before 11pm but it was worth the wait for the newcomer.

Duly elected on the first count Mr Malones incredible number of surplus votes will no doubt help more than one candidate over the line when counting resumes later this morning to fill the remaining 5 seats.

Gavin Malone and supporters celebrate his election success at Newry Sports Centre. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
Gavin Malone and supporters celebrate his election success at Newry Sports Centre. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

In the First Count other candidates got as follows: Charlie Casey, Sinn Féin 1230; Valerie Harte Sinn Féin 1045, Liz Kimmins Sinn Féin 1374, Sarah Jane McAllister Sinn Féin 784, Ricky McGaffin UUP 341, Michael Savage SDLP 1231, Gary Stokes SDLP 878 and Helena Young Alliance 721.

Speaking after his election the new Councillor in waiting said "I'm very humbled, delighted, really looking forward to working for the people of the area. The people have gave me a massive mandate and I'm really looking forward to the challenge of representing peoples concerns and views."

Mr Malone added words of thanks to each and every one that helped him in his campaign.

In conclusion the newly elected member of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council said he plans to "Work my socks of for the next couple of years and do as much for as many. Very excited, very humbled and very grateful to the people who elected me"

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