Despite their huffing and puffing about contesting the vacant seat on Strabane District Council, the unionists did nothing, and allowed Sinn Féin to co-opt Ruairi McHugh to replace his late father as Councillor for Derg DEA.
The Ulster Unionist Party had signalled their intent to contest the co-option and instead force a by-election for the seat. UUP Councillor Derek Hussey had said that a final decision would not be announced until November 11, when the issue came before the council. But when the day came, he sang dumb.
Perhaps they had re-examined the data and realised that their chances of winning were too slim. Derg is a majority-nationalist DEA (52.3% Nationalist, 47.7% Unionist, in 2005) and becoming more so every year. Forcing a by-election, and then losing it, is embarrassing, as the DUP learned in Dromore and the UUP learned in Enniskillen.