Irish Republican News · May 5, 2011
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Assembly Elections 2011 - Constituency Profiles
Assembly Elections 2011 - Constituency Profiles
constituencies6co.jpg

Six Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) will be elected in each of the 18 constituencies in the Six Counties. A brief summary of the constituencies and candidates for this year’s Assembly election.

Belfast East

Belfast East is traditionally unionist and, according to the 2001 Census, has a population of 79,621 (the lowest of the 18 constituencies).

In addition to having the lowest population, it has the oldest age profile of the 18 constituencies, with an average age of 39.9 years.

It contains areas with some of the highest income levels in the North, as well as some of the most deprived.

Belfast East is overwhelmingly Protestant, with just 10% of residents identifying themselves as Catholic in 2001.

Since 2007, the constituency has lost two of its Castlereagh Council wards to Belfast South and gained five wards from Strangford (around strongly unionist Dundonald).

Belfast East has the largest field of candidates of any constituency in 2011, with a large number of smaller parties and independents represented, including the BNP.

The profile of the Alliance party has been increased following a breakthrough in the Westminster election, and the party is predicting a gain.

Much attention will also focus on how Dawn Purvis, a former political representative of the UVF, fares as an independent.

Election Results 2007 - Three DUP; one Alliance Party; one UUP and one Independent.

Candidates


Tommy Black, Socialist Party NI
Judith Cochrane, Alliance
Ann Cooper, BNP
Michael Copeland, UUP
Sammy Douglas, DUP
Brian Ervine, PUP
Martin Gregg, Green Party
Chris Lyttle*, Alliance
Kevin McNally, Workers’ Party
Robin Newton*, DUP
Niall Ó Donnghaile, Sinn Féin
Dawn Purvis*, Independent
Peter Robinson*, DUP
Philip Robinson, UUP
Stephen Stewart, Independent
Harry Toan, TUV
Magdalena Wolska, SDLP

Belfast North

Sitting on Belfast Lough and encompassing Belfast Castle, this constituency is mixed with a narrow Protestant majority.

While the areas around the castle include tree-lined avenues and large houses, 60% of the people in the constituency live in districts classified as deprived.

The constituency endured some of the worst of the conflict and is conspicuous for the so-called peace walls which divide Catholic and Protestant communities.

Since 2007 the constituency has been enlarged with a number of additional wards in the Newtownabbey area, which transferred in from East Antrim and South Antrim, but the transfers do not materially alter the make-up of the constituency.

Election Results 2007: Two DUP; two Sinn Féin; one UUP; one SDLP

Candidates


Paula Bradley, DUP
Fred Cobain*, UUP
William Humphrey*, DUP
Gerry Kelly*, Sinn Féin
John Lavery, Workers’ Party
JJ Magee, Sinn Féin
Alban Maginness*, SDLP
Nelson McCausland*, DUP
Raymond McCord, Independent
Carál Ní Chuilín*, Sinn Féin
Billy Webb, Alliance

Belfast South

The constituency of Belfast South takes in the southern part of Belfast City Council and parts of Castlereagh Council.

According to the 2001 Census, the background of the population was 41% Catholic, 52% Protestant and Other Christian and a fairly high 7% from other religious backgrounds or none.

The constituency has a distinctly genteel flavour and includes the leafy areas of Botanic, Finaghy, Malone, Ravenhill, Shaftesbury and Stranmillis.

It also includes the staunchly loyalist and working-class ‘Village’ area off the Lisburn Road, as well as republican enclaves around the Markets district and on the Lower Ormeau Road.

It encompasses big employers such as Queen’s University Belfast, the City Hospital and numerous call-centres.

There is also a very large student population centred on Queen’s.

Since 2007, the constituency has gained four more Castlereagh wards.

Election Results 2007: Two SDLP; one Alliance Party; one Sinn Féin; one UUP; one DUP

Candidates


Clare Bailey, Green Party
Brian Faloon, People Before Profit
Mark Finlay, UUP
Anna Lo*, Alliance
Paddy Lynn, Workers’ Party
Alex Maskey*, Sinn Féin
Conall McDevitt*, SDLP
Alasdair McDonnell*, SDLP
Michael McGimpsey*, UUP
Paddy Meehan, Socialist Party
Ruth Patterson, DUP
Samuel Smyth, Procapitalism Party
Jimmy Spratt*, DUP
Nico Torregrosa, UKIP

Belfast West

A staunchly republican stronghold, Belfast West is made up of the western quarter of Belfast City and a small portion of Lisburn District Council.

In terms of community background, the constituency is around 83% Catholic according to the 2001 Census, making it the most Catholic constituency in the North.

Just 16% of the population described themselves as ‘Protestant or Other Christian’ in 2001.

The Falls Road area is at the heart of this constituency.

Poverty and deprivation have blighted the area, and it has consistently featured as one of the most deprived in the North with very high unemployment levels.

The constituency’s population is also one of the youngest in the North.

There has been a minor boundary change since 2007 with Belfast West gaining the Dunmurry ward and part of another from Lagan Valley.

Sinn Féin has enjoyed a strong grip on this constituency for many years, but poll-topping Gerry Adams is not running in the election this time out. Turnout will be a key factor.

Election Results 2007: Five Sinn Féin; one SDLP

Candidates


Alex Attwood*, SDLP
Gerry Carroll, People Before Profit
Colin Keenan, SDLP
Brian Kingston, DUP
Pat Lawlor, Socialist Party NI
John Lowry, Workers’ Party
Bill Manwaring, UUP
Paul Maskey*, Sinn Féin
Fra McCann*, Sinn Féin
Jennifer McCann*, Sinn Féin
Dan McGuinness, Alliance
Brian Pelan, Independent
Sue Ramsey*, Sinn Féin
Pat Sheehan*, Sinn Féin

East Antrim

The constituency of East Antrim comprises a long coastal strip of County Antrim northwards from Belfast Lough and takes in the whole of Larne and Carrickfergus District Councils, and parts of Newtownabbey and Moyle District Councils.

Formerly an industrial heartland, the area has become part of the Belfast commuter belt in recent years, although the northern end of this long constituency is more rural. It also includes the port of Larne.

The constituency is overwhelmingly unionist, with just over 15% of the population describing themselves as Catholic at the time of the 2001 Census.

Much of the Catholic population is centred in the southern portion of the constituency near Jordanstown and in Larne.

In both the 2003 and 2007 Assembly elections, not one of the six Assembly Elections seat was won by a nationalist or republican party.

The DUP has been the dominant force here in recent years.

Election Results 2007: Three DUP; two UUP; one Alliance Party

Candidates


Roy Beggs*, UUP
Stewart Dickson, Alliance
Daniel Donnelly, Green Party
David Hilditch*, DUP
Gordon Lyons, DUP
Justin McCamphill, SDLP
Rodney McCune, UUP
Oliver McMullan, Sinn Féin
Steven Moore, BNP
Gerardine Mulvenna, Alliance
Alastair Ross*, DUP
Ruth Wilson, TUV
Sammy Wilson*, DUP

East Derry

East Derry comprises most of the northern portion of County Derry and a small portion of County Antrim.

It includes all of the local government districts of Coleraine and Limavady, as well as a small portion of Derry Council.

The constituency stretches from the seaside resorts of Portrush and Portstewart in the north, to Garvagh and Dungiven in the south and southwest, and to Ballykelly and Greysteel in the direction of Derry.

Much of the western part of the constituency acts as a commuter belt for the city of Derry.

The constituency as a whole is primarily rural and Protestant, with a population of approximately 90,000.

At the time of the 2001 Census, 38% of respondents were from a Catholic background, while 59% were categorised as being from a Protestant or other Christian background.

As a result of Derry City’s population growth, East Derry has taken in the rural wards of Banagher and Claudy from Foyle since the 2007 election.

The outgoing state of the parties here is three seats for the DUP, with Sinn Féin and the SDLP holding one each.

Election Results 2007: Three DUP; one SDLP; one Sinn Féin; one Independent

Candidates


Bernadette Archibald, Sinn Féin
Gregory Campbell*, DUP
Thomas Conway, SDLP
John Dallat*, SDLP
Boyd Douglas, TUV
Barney Fitzpatrick, Alliance
David Harding, UUP
Lesley Macaulay, UUP
David McClarty*, Independent
Adrian McQuillan*, DUP
Cathal Ó hOisín, Sinn Féin
George Robinson*, DUP

Fermanagh and South Tyrone

A largely rural constituency takes in the entire county of Fermanagh and the southern part of County Tyrone. It includes Fermanagh District Council and a large portion of Dungannon and South Tyrone District Council.

The main towns in the constituency include Enniskillen and Dungannon, as well as Aughnacloy, Belleek, Irvinestown and Lisnaskea.

It has a small Catholic majority, with roughly 56% of the population from a Catholic community background and 43% from a Protestant background at the time of the 2001 Census.

The relatively even divide between the nationalist and unionist communities in this constituency has ensured an intense political battle in every election since the constituency was first created in 1950.

Sinn Fein will be looking to regain the seat it lost through a defection in the course of the last Assembly.

Election Results 2007: Two DUP; one UUP; one SDLP; one Sinn Féin; one Independent

Candidates


Pat Cox, Independent
Kenny Donaldson, UUP
Alex Elliott, TUV
Tom Elliott*, UUP
Phil Flanagan, Sinn Féin
Arlene Foster*, DUP
Tommy Gallagher*, SDLP
Michelle Gildernew*, Sinn Féin
Sean Lynch, Sinn Féin
Maurice Morrow*, DUP
Hannah Su, Alliance

Foyle

A small constituency geographically, it is bordered to the north by Lough Foyle, and comprises the city of Derry and much of the suburban area surrounding it.

Derry, is the second largest city in the North Ireland, and has a population a little over 100,000 people.

The city has suffered terribly under British rule, and areas of unemployment and social deprivation persisit in areas like the Bogside.

In the 2001 Census, Foyle had the youngest population in the North t average age of 32.8 years.

Foyle is strongly nationalist in character: in 2001 the constituency had the second highest reported number of constituents from a Catholic background at 75% and the second lowest reported number from a Protestant background at 23%.

Derry City is now largely a Catholic stronghold but the village of New Buildings to the south of the city is a more Protestant area.

While the recent boundary changes have somewhat altered the demographics of the constituency, the electoral effects are negligible.

Since its creation in 1983, the Foyle constituency has been dominated by the SDLP, but one of their top performers, Mark Durkan, is not running this year-

Election Results 2007: Three SDLP; two Sinn Féin; one DUP

Candidates


Martina Anderson*, Sinn Féin
Pól Callaghan*, SDLP
Terry Doherty, Independent
Mark H Durkan, SDLP
Colum Eastwood, SDLP
Paul Fleming, Sinn Féin
William Hay*, DUP
Eamonn McCann, People Before Profit
Raymond McCartney*, Sinn Féin
Paul McFadden, Independent
Keith McGrellis, Alliance
Pat Ramsey*, SDLP

Lagan Valley

The parliamentary constituency of Lagan Valley lies to the immediate southwest of Belfast and is made up of most of Lisburn District Council and, to the south, the Dromore area of Banbridge District Council.

A prosperous constituency centred on the city of Lisburn, an important commercial and retail centre, which attracts a good deal of inward investment, and includes several affluent commuter suburbs on the southern outskirts of Belfast.

It is a unionist heartland: the community background figures from the 2001 Census indicate that the population is roughly 75% Protestants and 21% Catholic, with around 4% from other religions and philosophies or none.

In the boundary changes since 2007, Lagan Valley lost the Glenavy area to South Antrim, and the suburban Dunmurry area and part of the Derryaghy ward to Belfast West.

The new boundaries reduce the Catholic population here from around 20% to below 15%.

This will have a major impact on Sinn Féin’s ability to hold their Assembly seat here in 2011, and following the departure of veteran Paul Butler, there have been many predictions that it will lose its seat.

Lagan Valley was dominated by the UUP from its creation in 1983 and long held by Jim Molyneaux, but the complexion of the constituency was completely altered by the defection in December 2003 of the sitting MP, Jeffrey Donaldson, from the UUP to the DUP.

Election Results 2007: Three DUP; one Sinn Féin; one Alliance Party; one UUP

Candidates


Pat Catney, SDLP
Jonathan Craig*, DUP
Paul Givan*, DUP
Brenda Hale, DUP
Mark Hill, UUP
Trevor Lunn*, Alliance
Basil McCrea*, UUP
Edwin Poots*, DUP
Conor Quinn, Green Party
Mary-Kate Quinn, Sinn Féin
Lyle Rea, TUV

Mid Ulster

There is a significant Catholic majority in the predominantly rural constituency of Mid-Ulster, which comprises all of the Cookstown and Magherafelt districts and part of the Dungannon and South Tyrone district.

The community breakdown is now approximately two thirds Catholic and one third Protestant.

The constituency is bordered to the east by Lough Neagh and includes parts of counties Tyrone and Derry, with the main urban centres being Coalisland, Cookstown, Draperstown, Magherafelt, Maghera and Pomeroy.

The current constituency was really created in 1995 when major boundary revisions radically altered the location of Mid-Ulster and the new constituency of West Tyrone absorbed most of the territory in the western part of the old constituency.

The current boundaries of the constituency are unchanged since 2007.

Sinn Féin has been the dominant party here.

Election Results 2007: Three Sinn Fein; one DUP; one SDLP; one UUP

Candidates


Harry Hutchinson, People Before Profit
Austin Kelly, SDLP
Gary McCann, Independent
Hugh McCloy, Independent
Ian McCrea*, DUP
Michael McDonald, Alliance
Patsy McGlone*, SDLP
Martin McGuinness*, Sinn Féin
Walter Millar, TUV
Ian Milne, Sinn Féin
Francie Molloy*, Sinn Féin
Michelle O’Neill*, Sinn Féin
Sandra Overend, UUP

Newry and Armagh

The parliamentary constituency of Newry and Armagh includes all of Armagh District Council and a large area, including Newry and areas to its west, from Newry and Mourne District Council.

It takes in many rural areas, including the once-dubbed ‘Bandit Country’ of South Armagh, but also includes the cities of Newry and Armagh, as well as several smaller towns including Crossmaglen, Keady, Loughgall, Middletown, Poyntzpass and Tandragee.

It is a largely nationalist constituency, with roughly two thirds of the population coming from a Catholic background according to the 2001 Census, the fourth highest level in the 18 constituencies in Northern Ireland.

Some 32% of the population were from a Protestant background at that time.

The south of the constituency is more Catholic in make-up, while the north has a larger Protestant population.

Economically, the constituency, especially Newry, has benefited from substantial cross-border shopping traffic in recent years.

However, havy-handed PSNI tactics has also alienated much of the nationalist community.

All six MLAs elected in 2007 are standing for re-election in 2011.

The long-term trend in the constituency has been the rise of Sinn Féin at the expense of the SDLP.

Election Results 2007: Three Sinn Fein; one DUP; one SDLP; one UUP

Candidates


Cathal Boylan*, Sinn Féin
Dominic Bradley*, SDLP
Mickey Brady*, Sinn Féin
Barrie Halliday, TUV
William Irwin*, DUP
Danny Kennedy*, UUP
James Malone, Independent
Conor Murphy*, Sinn Féin
David Murphy, Alliance
Thomas O’Hanlon, SDLP
Robert Woods, UKIP

North Antrim

The parliamentary constituency of North Antrim is bordered to the north by the sea and comprises all of Ballymena and Ballymoney district councils and the majority of Moyle district council.

It is a large, prosperous and mainly rural constituency with a large Protestant majority, with roughly 70% of the population coming from a Protestant background, according to data from the 2001 Census.

A stronghold of fundamental Protestantism, this constituency has been dominated by the personality and politics of Ian Paisley and his family since he was first elected in 1970.

In the 1998 referendum to ratify the Good Friday Agreement, North Antrim was the only constituency in the North to vote no to the peace accord, with a clear majority.

This is a DUP heartland but the party enters the 2011 Assembly campaign without both Ian Paisley Snr, who has retired, and Ian Paisley Jnr, who is now a Westminster MP.

This time out, the constituency is likely to see a gain for Jim Allister of the more hardline TUV.

Election Results 2007: Three DUP; one UUP; one SDLP; one Sinn Féin

Candidates


Jim Allister, TUV
Jayne Dunlop, Alliance
Paul Frew*, DUP
Bill Kennedy, UUP
David McIlveen, DUP
Daithí McKay*, Sinn Féin
Declan O’Loan*, SDLP
Audrey Patterson, TUV
Evelyne Robinson, DUP
Mervyn Storey*, DUP
Robin Swann, UUP

North Down

A solidly unionist constituency, North Down is made up of all of North Down District Council and the Donaghadee area of Ards District Council.

It is a small, very affluent and largely suburban constituency - the wealthiest in the North - that stretches along the southern shore of Belfast Lough.

It comprises several villages and towns, as well as coastal and farming communities and includes Bangor, a large urban centre.

In terms of community background, the data from the 2001 Census indicates that 82% of the population were of a Protestant or other Christian background, 12% were of a Catholic background and 6.2% from other religious backgrounds or none, the highest such level in Northern Ireland.

North Down has always have a variety of its unionist representation, with a long history of selecting independent candidates in Westminster and non-traditional candidates in the Assembly -- an overwhelmingly unionist constituency which is consistently unpredictable.

The ‘UK Independence Party’ could make a showing here.

Election Results 2007: Two DUP; one UUP; one Alliance Party; one Green Party; one Independent

Candidates


Steven Agnew, Green Party
Colin Breen, UUP
Alan Chambers, Independent
Leslie Cree*, UUP
Gordon Dunne, DUP
Alex Easton*, DUP
Stephen Farry*, Alliance
Conor Keenan, Sinn Féin
Liam Logan, SDLP
Alan McFarland*, Independent
Fred McGlade, UKIP
Peter Weir*, DUP
Anne Wilson, Alliance

South Antrim

The parliamentary constituency of South Antrim stretches from the river Bann and Lough Neagh in the west to the edge of Belfast.

The constituency’s main towns include Antrim on the banks of Lough Neagh and Ballyclare to the east, with much of the Antrim District area being rural.

The constituency enjoys good transport links and Belfast International Airport, a major employer, is situated at Aldergrove in the constituency.

It is overwhelmingly Protestant and unionist: Catholics constitute only about 30% of the population. It is also home to the Masserene British Army base.

All six outgoing MLAs are standing again, although two of them are replacements not elected in 2007.

Election Results 2007: Two DUP; one SDLP; one Alliance Party; one UUP; one Sinn Féin

Candidates


Thomas Burns*, SDLP
Trevor Clarke*, DUP
Adrian Cochrane-Watson, UUP
David Ford*, Alliance
Paul Girvan*, DUP
Danny Kinahan*, UUP
Pam Lewis, DUP
Mel Lucas, TUV
Mitchel McLaughlin*, Sinn Féin
Stephen Parkes, BNP

South Down

The parliamentary constituency of South Down runs from Downpatrick, which is the main urban centre, and Ardglass in the north and east, to the southern coastal towns of Newcastle, Kilkeel, Rostrevor and Warrenpoint and extends almost to the city of Newry in the east.

Encompassing the Mourne Mountains, it is a largely rural constituency with agriculture, tourism and fisheries as important features of the economy.

It has a large nationalist majority, with about two thirds of the electorate being from a Catholic background.

This majority has been increased by the transfer out to Strangford of three wards in the Ballynahinch area in the north of the constituency.

The constituency has been an SDLP stronghold since 1987 when Eddie McGrady took the seat from the UUP’s Enoch Powell.

It sees a match-up between SDLP leader Margaret Ritchie and Sinn Fein’s surprisingly controversial Education Minister, Caitríona Ruane.

Election Results 2007: Two Sinn Féin; two SDLP; one DUP; one UUP

Candidates


Naomi Bailie, Sinn Féin
Willie Clarke*, Sinn Féin
Cadogan Enright, Green Party
David Griffin, Alliance
John McCallister*, UUP
Karen McKevitt, SDLP
Eamonn O’Neill, SDLP
Henry Reilly, UKIP
Margaret Ritchie*, SDLP
Caitríona Ruane*, Sinn Féin
Jim Wells*, DUP

Strangford

The north of this constituency acts as a predominantly middle-class commuter belt for Belfast City, while the Ards peninsula to the east is much more rural, with tourism an important part of the local economy.

Newtownards, at the northern tip of Strangford Lough, is the largest urban centre in the constituency.

Overall, Strangford is heavily unionist and the community background data from the 2001 Census suggested it was approximately 80% Protestant or other Christian and just 15% Catholic.

The southern end of the Ards peninsula is home to many of the constituency’s Catholic communities.

Under the boundary revisions completed since 2007, Strangford will be the most altered constituency in the North, losing seven Castlereagh wards; five to Belfast East, including loyalist Dundonald, and two to Belfast South, while gaining three wards from South Down.

The political landscape has changed somewhat since the DUP had four MLAs elected here in 2007.

Two of those, Iris Robinson and Jim Shannon have departed, so Michelle McIlveen and Simon Hamilton are joined by Jonathan Bell, who replaced Iris Robinson in January 2010, and Billy Walker.

However, the boundary change introduces the very real possibility of change here and a nationalist breakthrough is an outside possibility.

Election Results 2007: Four DUP; one UUP; one Alliance

Candidates


Cecil Andrews, UKIP
Jonathan Bell*, DUP
Joe Boyle, SDLP
Mickey Coogan, Sinn Féin
Simon Hamilton*, DUP
Kieran McCarthy*, Alliance
Michelle McIlveen*, DUP
David McNarry*, UUP
Mike Nesbitt, UUP
Billy Walker, DUP
Terry Williams, TUV

Upper Bann

Upper Bann, created in 1983, is a relatively small and largely urban and suburban constituency bounded on the north by Lough Neagh.

Many towns has suffered badly from sectarianism and PSNI oppression of nationalists.

Drumcree parish church, situated in Portadown at the heart of the constituency, has been a source of ongoing problems over the annual Orange march down the nationalist Garvaghy Road.

There is a relatively small unionist majority in the constituency: the translation into ‘Community background’ from the 2001 Census data gives figures of 43% Catholic and 55% Protestants.

The outgoing state of the parties here is two each for the DUP and UUP, and one each for the SDLP and Sinn Féin. Sinn Fein has an outside chance of a gain here.

Election Results 2007: Two DUP; two UUP; one Sinn Féin; one SDLP

Candidates


Sydney Anderson*, DUP
Joanne Dobson, UUP
Sam Gardiner*, UUP
Harry Hamilton, Alliance
Dolores Kelly*, SDLP
Colin McCusker, UUP
Johnny McGibbon, Sinn Féin
Sheila McQuaid, Alliance
Stephen Moutray*, DUP
John O’Dowd*, Sinn Féin
Barbara Trotter, UKIP
David Vance, TUV

West Tyrone

Omagh is the main town in a constituency that stretches from Strabane and Castlederg in the north and west to Fintona and Creggan in the south and east.

A largely rural constituency, it has traditionally had to contend with unemployment and economic deprivation in many areas, with Strabane suffering from among the highest levels of unemployment in Ireland for many years.

The constituency has a large nationalist majority, with approximately 68% of the population coming from a Catholic community background compared to 31% from a Protestant or other Christian background.

There are no boundary changes affecting West Tyrone in the upcoming election.

Sinn Féin is the dominant party here. The seat of independent health campaigner Kieran Deeny could go anywhere, and the SDLP will look to reclaim it. The UUP are also predicting a gain from the DUP.

Election Results 2007: Three Sinn Féin; two DUP; one Independent

Candidates


Michaela Boyle, Sinn Féin
Allan Bresland*, DUP
Thomas Buchanan*, DUP
Eric Bullick, Alliance
Joe Byrne, SDLP
Pat Doherty*, Sinn Féin
Ross Hussey, UUP
Declan McAleer, Sinn Féin
Barry McElduff*, Sinn Féin
Paddy McGowan, Independent
Eugene McMenamin, Independent`

Note: * shows candidates elected in the 2007 elections

© 2011 Irish Republican News