When the First Preference Votes (FPVs) were declared for the Enniskillen DEA, and it had emerged that Eddie Roofe had out-polled four sitting councillors with the FPVs counts, it became clear early on that there would be history made for the party as Fermanagh elected its first Alliance representative.

Councillor Roofe polled 779 FPVs, increasing the Alliance vote by 151 per cent. He out-polled two prominent health campaigners – Paul Blake, SDLP and Donal O’Cofaigh, CCLA – and the sitting Ulster Unionist councillors Roy Crawford and Robert Irvine, who contested the election on a joint ticket.

However, the Alliance candidate polled a strong FPV share and was the second candidate elected to the Enniskillen DEA.


Speaking to The Impartial Reporter following his election, he paid tribute to Alliance activists based in Fermanagh – some of whom have waited 50 years for their first representative in Fermanagh.

Councillor Roofe said: “I am over the moon to be the first ever Alliance councillor in Fermanagh, and I hope I won’t be the last!”

He added: “We knocked on thousands of doors this time, and look what happened – people respond.”

When asked if there could be a polarisation of politics as a result of the Sinn Féin majority, Councillor Roofe said: “I think there is a consolidation of Nationalism; I don’t think there is polarisation, as such, but there is an ever-increasing moderate centre-ground, and that increased substantially over the past few years, and I don’t see that changing any time soon.”


WATCH: Speeches from Enniskillen DEA


Councillor Keith Elliott reached quota at the second stage, with the DUP councillor believing it was his work on the ground with constituents that got him re-elected.

He said: “Going forward, the work starts tomorrow – we have to keep going and working for the constituents on the ground, because I think that is what gets you re-elected.”


Keith Elliott

Keith Elliott


Sinn Féin Councillor Tommy Maguire said: “We all welcome the opportunity to represent our local people on the Council, to do our best and improve our services for them, and not to make false promises and increase false expectation.”

Also new to the Chamber was Councillor Dermot Browne, Sinn Féin, who on his election victory expressed his commiserations to outgoing Paul Blake and Donal O’Cofaigh.

Councillor Browne, who works for the party, added: “Some people are lucky enough to meet their heroes, but I’m lucky enough to work with them every day.”


Tommy Maguire

Tommy Maguire


Councillor Robert Irvine spoke on behalf of himself and UUP running-mate Councillor Roy Crawford, saying: “We are a committed team; we will work on behalf of and for the community, and we will try and deliver on that.

"We don’t intend as a grouping, and going forward as councillors, to promise something we can’t give or can’t attain [for the electorate]. We will do our level best.”


Roy Crawford is congratulated on his election by wife Carole and son Mark.

Roy Crawford is congratulated on his election by wife Carole and son Mark.


In an interview with The Impartial Reporter, Councillor Crawford added: “I am coming in with fresh ideas here and we are doing what we can to attract youth [to the UUP].”

He added that the UUP will also have the South West Acute Hospital (SWAH) and SWAH services at the forefront of their agenda.

Reflecting on their losing out in the Enniskillen DEA, Paul Blake and Donal O'Cofaigh expressed their thoughts on where next for local politics.


Paul Blake

Paul Blake


Mr. O'Cofaigh expressed some concern regarding a polarisation on the Council, saying: "I think you are going to see a polarisation of the representation, and unfortunately this is perhaps a wider trend.

"I thought the smaller voices in the Council had a valuable contribution to make.

"One of the main things we did was improve public accountability and transparency of decision-making, and I would be concerned that it won't be as transparent, going forward."


Donal OCofaigh

Donal O'Cofaigh