Plus Ça Change: The 2014 Local Elections in Northern Ireland

Neil Matthews*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The local government elections of 22 May 2014 in Northern Ireland were the first to be held under revised district boundaries, with 11 'super councils' replacing the 26-council model used since 1973. Despite the structural reform, little changed in terms of political party support. Although they suffered some losses, the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Féin remained firmly entrenched as the two dominant players at local government level in Northern Ireland. The Ulster Unionist Party enjoyed only a marginal increase in its vote share, while the Social Democratic and Labour Party recorded one of the worst electoral performances in its history. Elsewhere, the Traditional Unionist Voice enjoyed a 'breakthrough' election and the Alliance Party defied widely held predictions that it would suffer at the polls as a result of its role in the Union flag crisis. The campaign was overshadowed by both the concurrent European Parliament contest and several crises of power-sharing at Stormont. As a result, distinctly local government issues received scant and fleeting attention. The contest saw the lowest local election turnout in Northern Ireland's history, continuing a general trend of increasing voter apathy in the province.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)432-444
Number of pages13
JournalIrish Political Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jul 2015


  • elections
  • local government
  • Northern Ireland

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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