Over 60% of election candidates in Lisburn and Castlereagh have engaged an intimidation law to keep their home addresses out of the public eye.
The safety mechanism, which is being used for the first time in Northern Ireland local elections allows candidates to chose whether or not to declare where they live.
On election notification papers 35 out of 56 candidates exercised the right to protect themselves from publicly announcing their details.
The local authority has refused to comment on the matter and referred to the Local Democracy Service to the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland (EONI).The EONI said: “The candidates requirement to have their home address published on the ballot paper was removed in The Local Election (Northern Ireland) (Amendment) Order 2020. “This enables the candidate to choose for their home address not to be public and instead publish the relevant area, in this case the council area.“This is the same for the Assembly Election and the UK Parliamentary election indeed it was bought for the UK Parliamentary in 2009, so has been due process for a while now.“The EONI does not make the legislation for the elections in Northern Ireland. We administer the elections following the relevant legislation. The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) is responsible for election legislation.”
In response to a media query, a NIO spokesperson referred to the Local Elections Amendment Order 2020.
It states: “At a time when there is a perception of growing threats to elected representatives, the changes will increase the level of protection for Northern Ireland electoral candidates at local elections.
“This should remove any potential barrier to participation in politics in Northern Ireland for someone who may otherwise feel unable to stand for a local election if, for any reason, they did not want their home address to be published.”
A NILGA (Northern Ireland Local Government Association) spokesperson said: “There are a range of reasons why a candidate for local government elections may prefer not to provide their home address and these reasons will of course be personal to them.”
Breakdown of Candidates keeping address private:
Total : 35