|Area||376 km2 (145 sq mi)
Ranked 20th of 26
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||Northern Ireland|
Ards (named after the Ards Peninsula) was a local government district in Northern Ireland with the status of borough. It was one of twenty-six districts formed on 1 October 1973, and had its headquarters in Newtownards. It was merged with neighbouring North Down on May 1, 2015 to form the new Borough of Ards and North Down Other towns in the defunct Borough include Portaferry, Comber, and Donaghadee, and the population of the area was 78,078 according to the 2011 census.
Strangford Lough is at the heart of the area, and is the largest inlet in Ireland with internationally renowned wildlife. The Irish Sea coast stretches from Donaghadee to Portaferry. Mount Stewart, a National Trust property on the shore of Strangford Lough is in the area, as well as Northern Ireland’s only aquarium, Exploris, in Portaferry and Grace Neill's pub in Donaghadee.
The borough was governed by Ards Borough Council (Ulster-Scots: Burgh Cooncil o' the Airds, Newton an' Blathewick). The borough was divided into four district electoral areas: Newtownards, Ards West, Ards East and Ards Peninsula, from which 23 members are elected. As of February 2011 the following parties were represented on the council: 11 Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), 6 Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), 4 Alliance Party, and 1 Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), and there are one Independent councillors. 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. The proposed reforms were abandoned in 2010, and district council elections took place in 2011
On creation in 1973 Ards District Council adopted the charter of incorporation of the municipal borough of Newtownards, to become Ards Borough Council. The charter also granted the chairman of the council the title "Mayor of Ards".
|Year||Name||Political affiliation||Deputy||Deputy's affiliation|
|1973 - 75||John Algie||UUP||D. Hamilton||UUP|
|1975 - 77||Henry Cosbey||UUP||J. B. Caughey||Independent|
|1977 - 79||John Scott||UUP||Hamilton McKeag||UUP|
|1979 - 81||Hamilton McKeag||UUP||Robert Gaw||NI Labour|
|1981 - 83||Robert Gaw||NI Labour||Jim McBriar||Alliance|
|1983 - 84||Jim McBriar||Alliance||Oliver Johnston||DUP|
|1984 - 85||Oliver Johnston||DUP||Gladys McIntyre||Ulster Popular Unionist|
|1985 - 86||Gladys McIntyre||Ulster Popular Unionist||Robert Ambrose||UUP|
|1986 - 87||Robert Ambrose||UUP||Simpson Gibson||DUP|
|1987 - 88||Simpson Gibson||DUP||Tom Benson||UUP|
|1988 - 89||Tom Benson||UUP||John Hamilton||DUP|
|1989–1990||John Hamilton||DUP||Robert Gibson||UUP|
|1990 - 91||Robert Gibson||UUP||Jim Shannon||DUP|
|1991 - 92||Jim Shannon||DUP||David Smyth||UUP|
|1992 - 93||David Smyth||UUP||Wilbert Magill||DUP|
|1993 - 94||Wilbert Magill||DUP||John Shields||UUP|
|1994 - 95||John Shields||UUP||St Clair McAlister||DUP|
|1995 - 96||St Clair McAlister||DUP||Robert Gibson||UUP|
|June - December 1996||Robert Gibson||UUP||Ronnie Ferguson||UUP|
|January - June 1998||Ronnie Ferguson||UUP||George Ennis||DUP|
|June 1998 - June 1999||George Ennis||DUP||Alan McDowell||Alliance|
|1999–2000||Alan McDowell||Alliance||Tom Hamilton||UUP|
|2000 - 01||Tom Hamilton||UUP||Margaret Craig||DUP|
|2001 - 02||Margaret Craig||DUP||Jeff Magill||UUP|
|2002 - 03||Jeff Magill||UUP||Jim McBriar||Alliance|
|2003 - 04||Jim McBriar||Alliance||Hamilton Gregory||DUP|
|2004 - 05||Hamilton Gregory||DUP||Angus Carson||UUP|
|2005 - 06||Terry Williams||DUP||Angus Carson||UUP|
|2006 - 07||Angus Carson||UUP||Robin Drysdale||DUP|
|2007 - 08||Robin Drysdale||DUP||Jim Fletcher||UUP|
|2008 - 09||Jim Fletcher||UUP||William Montgomery||DUP|
|2009 - 10||William Montgomery||DUP||David Smyth||UUP|
|2010 - 11||David Smyth||UUP||Mervyn Oswald||DUP|
|2011 - 12||Mervyn Oswald||DUP||Hamilton Gregory||DUP|
|2012 - 2013||Hamilton Gregory||DUP||Stephen McIlveen||DUP|
2013 Stephen McIlveen Democratic Unionist Party
Source: Freedom of Information request to Ards Borough Council
In elections for the Westminster Parliament and Northern Ireland Assembly most of the borough is included in the Strangford constituency, with part (Donaghadee North, Donaghadee South and Millisle) in the North Down constituency.
The borough of Ards has a sister city (twinning) relationship with the city of Peoria, Arizona, USA. As a result of this relationship, regular exchange visits are made between the two communities by artists, educators, business, political, and community leaders.
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