Desmond Stewart

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Robert Stewart
Member of Coleraine Borough Council
In office
17 May 1989 – 17 November 2006
Preceded byMatthew Kane
Succeeded byMark Fielding
ConstituencyThe Skerries
Member of the Northern Ireland Forum for
East Londonderry
In office
30 May 1996 – 25 April 1998
Personal details
BornPortrush, Northern Ireland
Political partyDUP (until 2006)

Robert Desmond Stewart (born 1949), known as Dessie Stewart, is a former Northern Irish unionist politician.

Political career[edit]

Living in Portrush, Stewart joined the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), and first stood for Coleraine Borough Council for the party in the Skerries ward, at the 1985 Northern Ireland local elections. Although he was unsuccessful, he was narrowly elected at the following election, in 1989,[1] and then topped the poll in 1993.[2] At the Northern Ireland Forum election in 1996, he stood in East Londonderry, and was elected from second place on the DUP list.[3]

Stewart held his council seat in the 1997 and 2001 local elections.[2] In 2001/2, he served as Deputy Mayor of Coleraine, then in 2003/4 as the borough's Mayor.[4][5]

Following the 2005 Northern Ireland local elections, in which Stewart was again re-elected, he was accused of electoral fraud. He was subsequently convicted of taking fifteen electoral votes from a care home and using them to vote for himself.[6] He admitted the charges and resigned from both his party and the council,[7] and was sentenced to four months in prison.[6] During his trial, he punched a press photographer, for which he was fined £300.[8] The subsequent council by-election was won by the Alliance Party, which has held the seat ever since.


  1. ^ "Local Government Elections 1985 - 1989: Coleraine", Northern Ireland Elections
  2. ^ a b "Coleraine Borough Council Elections 1993-2011", Northern Ireland Elections
  3. ^ "East Londonderry", Northern Ireland Elections
  4. ^ "Council elects new mayor Archived 19 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine", Coleraine Borough Council
  5. ^ Northern Ireland Yearbook 2004, p.223
  6. ^ a b "Ex DUP councillor jailed for electoral fraud", RTÉ, 17 November 2006
  7. ^ "Vote to replace shamed ex-mayor", BBC News, 25 October 2006
  8. ^ "Former mayor guilty of assault", BBC News, 22 May 2007
Civic offices
Preceded by
Olive Church
Mayor of Coleraine
Succeeded by
Robert McPhearson