|Area||Ranked 20th of 26|
|- Total||376 km2 (145 sq mi)|
|- Total (2010)||78,200|
|- Density||208/km2 (540/sq mi)|
|Control||No overall control
Alliance Party: 4
Alliance Party: 2
Green Party: 1
|MPs||Sylvia Hermon (Independent)
Jim Shannon (DUP)
Ards (named after the Ards Peninsula) is a local government district in Northern Ireland with the status of borough. It is one of twenty-six districts formed on 1 October 1973, and has its headquarters in Newtownards. Other towns 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 is governed by Ards Borough Council (Ulster-Scots: Burgh Cooncil o' the Airds, Newton an' Blathewick). The borough is 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 are 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
Mayor of Ards
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
Parliamentary and assembly representation
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.
- "Councillors". Ards Borough Council. Retrieved 18 February 2011.
- Northern Ireland elections are postponed, BBC News, April 25, 2008, accessed April 27, 2008
- "The executive fails to agree a deal on council reform". BBC News. 15 June 2010. Archived from the original on 18 June 2010. Retrieved 8 July 2010.
- the Charter of the Corporation of the Borough of Newtownards shall have effect in relation to the District of Ards... the name in the Charter shall be changed to Ards Borough Council.The Belfast Gazette: . 24 August 1973.
- Statutory Instrument 2008 No. 1486 (section Schedule) The Parliamentary Constituencies (Northern Ireland) Order 2008 (Coming into force 25 June 2008)