Assembly election: Constituency profiles and candidates



A look at three key contests for nationalists in today’s Assembly election, and the complete list of candidates.



In 1981, Bobby Sands was on hunger strike when he famously won election to Westminster in this constituency. His victory brought the hunger strikers’ cause to a global audience, and since then the constituency has been the most closely contested in the North.

Two seats will go to nationalist candidates and two to unionists, but the real battle will be for the fifth seat, with Sinn Féin, the SDLP, the DUP, Aontú’s Denise Mullen (top right) and prominent independent nationalist, Emma de Souza (top left), all in contention.

A measure of Sinn Féin’s success will be if it holds onto all three of its seats here, particularly with its vote falling at the last Westminster election.

While he has been in the Assembly since 2017, this is the first time Colm Gildernew will stand for election. A brother of Sinn Féin MP Michelle Gildernew, he should be returned safely enough. Áine Murphy, another candidate co-opted by Sinn Féin, could be vulnerable if the party has a poor day.

The constituency is a key target for the SDLP’s Adam Gannon, but Aontú will also be hoping for a breakthough here for its deputy leader, Denise Mullen.

Appealing to a broad range of nationalists and republicans, councillor Mullen’s campaign on the issue of collusion was dramatically highlighted last year when she received a death threat from a loyalist member of the collusion gang which murdered her father.

Another potential contender could be Emma de Souza, whose single-handed determination to implement the Good Friday Agreeement on the issue of national rights won a significant concession from the British government in 2020.

She could make big headlines again if her high media visibilty translates into votes on the ground.


Foyle will be one of the biggest tests for the Sinn Féin leadership after a hugely controversial decision last year to oust their former MEP Martina Anderson and her colleague Karen Mullan from the Assembly.

They also stood down much of the party leadership in the city as they attempted to arrest a sharp decline in their vote. Electoral newcomers, Pádraig Delargy and Ciara Ferguson were handed the task of saving the seats in the Assembly contest.

The SDLP is running three candidates in the form of Mark H Durkan, Sinead McLaughlin and Brian Tierney. Mr Durkan, the nephew of former SDLP leader Mark Durkan, is predicted to be comfortably returned, and the second SDLP seat also looks safe.

However, the fifth and final seat, currently held by DUP junior minister Gary Middleton, could fall to nationalism if the unionist vote splits awkwardly.

People before Profit’s Shaun Harkin could win back a seat after the short-lived success of party leader Eamonn McCann here in 2016. However, much of his vote is likely to swing behind Colly McLaughlin of the IRSP (bottom right) in his party’s first ever Assembly election outing.

Republicans will also have an unusual choice of two pro-life candidates, Emmet Devlin of Aontú and former Aontú candidate turned independent, Dr Anne McCloskey.


At 82% Catholic, West Belfast has huge levels of deprivation, youth unemployment and the lowest life expectancy anywhere in Ireland. Its reputation as a Sinn Féin stronghold took a hit in the last Westminster election, when the party’s vote share dropped by almost a fifth.

This constituency will test the public’s reaction to the party’s pledge to tackle the high cost of living. The party’s four seats will also only be retained with exceptional performance in vote management given the relatively low profile of Aisling Reilly (bottom left), a handball champion who was co-opted into Fra McCann’s seat in October when he retired.

The fifth seat is currently held by People Before Profit’s Gerry Carroll. The danger for both Carroll and Sinn Féin comes in the form of the IRSP’s Dan Murphy, who has won strong support in the face of an exceptional level of harassment since he first sought to register his candidacy.

The SDLP’s Paul Doherty could also end up mopping up transfers to regain the party’s traditional foothold in the constituency, once represented by its former MP Joe Hendron.

Other republican candidates here include Patrick Crossan of The Workers Party, and Gerard Herdman of Aontú.


* Counting begins on Friday morning, and the key results and predictions will be published here as they come in. The following is a complete list of candidates in the election:


East Belfast

Andy Allen - Ulster Unionist Party
Karl Bennett - Progressive Unionist Party
David Brooks - Democratic Unionist Party
Joanne Bunting - Democratic Unionist Party
Charlotte Carson - Social Democratic and Labour Party
Hannah Kenny - People Before Profit
Lauren Kerr - Ulster Unionist Party
Naomi Long - Alliance Party
Eoin Macneill - The Workers Party
Peter McReynolds - Alliance Party
Mairead O’Donnell - Sinn Féin
John Ross - Traditional Unionist Voice
Brian Smyth - Green Party

North Belfast

Phillip Brett - Democratic Unionist Party
Julie-Anne Corr-Johnston - Ulster Unionist Party
Fiona Ferguson - People Before Profit
Billy Hutchinson - Progressive Unionist Party
Gerry Kelly - Sinn Féin
Lily Kerr - The Workers Party
Brian Kingston - Democratic Unionist Party
Seán Mac Niocaill - Aontú
Nichola Mallon - Social Democratic and Labour Party
Nuala McAllister - Alliance Party
Ron McDowell - Traditional Unionist Voice
Carál Ní Chuilín - Sinn Féin
Mal O’Hara - Green Party
Stafford Ward - Independent

South Belfast

Clare Bailey - Green Party
Paula Bradshaw - Alliance Party
Andrew Girvin - Traditional Unionist Voice
Deirdre Hargey - Sinn Féin
Paddy Lynn - The Workers Party
Luke McCann - Aontú
Stephen McCarthy - Ulster Unionist Party
Neil Moore - Socialist Party
Elly Odhiambo - Independent
Kate Nicholl - Alliance Party
Matthew O’Toole - Social Democratic and Labour Party
Edwin Poots - Democratic Unionist Party
Sipho Sibanda - People Before Profit
Elsie Trainor - Social Democratic and Labour Party

West Belfast

Danny Baker - Sinn Féin
Gerard Burns - Independent
Gerry Carroll - People Before Profit
Patrick Crossan - The Workers Party
Paul Doherty - Social Democratic and Labour Party
Jordan Doran - Traditional Unionist Voice
Órlaithí Flynn - Sinn Féin
Linsey Gibson - Ulster Unionist Party
Gerard Herdman - Aontú
Donnamarie Higgins - Alliance Party
Declan Hill - Independent
Stevie Maginn - Green Party
Tony Mallon - Independent
Frank McCoubrey - Democratic Unionist Party
Dan Murphy - Irish Republican Socialist Party
Aisling Reilly - Sinn Féin
Pat Sheehan - Sinn Féin

East Antrim

Mark Bailey - Green Party
Roy Beggs - Ulster Unionist Party
Norman Boyd - Traditional Unionist Voice
Stewart Dickson - Alliance Party
Danny Donnelly - Alliance Party
David Hilditch - Democratic Unionist Party
Gordon Lyons - Democratic Unionist Party
Siobhán McAlister - Social Democratic and Labour Party
Oliver McMullan - Sinn Féin
John Stewart - Ulster Unionist Party

East Derry

Caoimhe Archibald - Sinn Féin
Jordan Armstrong - Traditional Unionist Voice
Maurice Bradley - Democratic Unionist Party
Gemma Brolly - Aontú
Mark Coulson - Green Party
Cara Hunter - Social Democratic and Labour Party
Chris McCaw - Alliance Party
Kathleen McGurk - Sinn Féin
Amy Merron - People Before Profit
Niall Murphy - Independent
Stephanie Quigley - Independent
Alan Robinson - Democratic Unionist Party
Billy Stewart - Independent
Claire Sugden - Independent
Russell Watton - Progressive Unionist Party
Darryl Wilson - Ulster Unionist Party

Fermanagh and South Tyrone

Derek Backhouse - Independent
Rosemary Barton - Ulster Unionist Party
Matthew Beaumont - Alliance Party
Paul Bell - Democratic Unionist Party
Emma DeSouza - Independent
Jemma Dolan - Sinn Féin
Alex Elliott - Traditional Unionist Voice
Tom Elliott - Ulster Unionist Party
Deborah Erskine - Democratic Unionist Party
Adam Gannon - Social Democratic and Labour Party
Colm Gildernew - Sinn Féin
Emmett Kilpatrick - People Before Profit
Denise Mullen - Aontú
Áine Murphy - Sinn Féin
Kellie Turtle - Green Party
Dónal Ó Cofaigh - Cross Community Labour Alternative


Pádraig Delargy - Sinn Féin
Emmet Doyle - Aontú
Mark H Durkan - Social Democratic and Labour Party
Ciara Ferguson - Sinn Féin
Rachael Ferguson - Alliance Party
Gillian Hamilton - Green Party
Shaun Harkin - People Before Profit
Anne McCloskey - Independent
Ryan McCready - Ulster Unionist Party
Colly McLaughlin - Irish Republican Socialist Party
Sinéad McLaughlin - Social Democratic and Labour Party
Gary Middleton - Democratic Unionist Party
Elizabeth Neely - Traditional Unionist Voice
Brian Tierney - Social Democratic and Labour Party

Lagan Valley

Robbie Butler - Ulster Unionist Party
Pat Catney - Social Democratic and Labour Party
Amanda Doherty - People Before Profit
Jeffrey Donaldson - Democratic Unionist Party
Sorcha Eastwood - Alliance Party
Paul Givan - Democratic Unionist Party
David Honeyford - Alliance Party
Gary Hynds - Independent
Simon Lee - Green Party
Gary McCleave - Sinn Féin
Lorna Smyth - Traditional Unionist Voice
Laura Turner - Ulster Unionist Party

Mid Ulster

Keith Buchanan - Democratic Unionist Party
Linda Dillon - Sinn Féin
Meta Graham - Ulster Unionist Party
Claire Hackett - Alliance Party
Alixandra Halliday - Aontú
Patrick Haughey - Independent
Sophia McFeely - People Before Profit
Patsy McGlone - Social Democratic and Labour Party
Glenn Moore - Traditional Unionist Voice
Michelle O’Neill - Sinn Féin
Conor Rafferty - Resume NI
Hugh Scullion - The Workers Party
Emma Sheerin - Sinn Féin
Stefan Taylor - Green Party

Newry and Armagh

Cathal Boylan - Sinn Féin
Jackie Coade - Alliance Party
Daniel Connolly - Aontú
Nicola Grant - The Workers Party
Ciara Henry - Green Party
William Irwin - Democratic Unionist Party
Liz Kimmins - Sinn Féin
Gavin Malone - Independent
Justin McNulty - Social Democratic and Labour Party
Conor Murphy - Sinn Féin
Keith Ratcliffe - Traditional Unionist Voice
David Taylor - Ulster Unionist Party

North Antrim

Jim Allister - Traditional Unionist Voice
Matthew Armstrong - Traditional Unionist Voice
Bethany Ferris - Ulster Unionist Party
Paul Frew - Democratic Unionist Party
Philip McGuigan - Sinn Féin
Patricia O’Lynn - Alliance Party
Eugene Reid - Social Democratic and Labour Party
Laird Shingleton - Independent
Mervyn Storey - Democratic Unionist Party
Robin Swann - Ulster Unionist Party
Paul Veronica - Green Party

North Down

Chris Carter - Independent
Alan Chambers - Ulster Unionist Party
Stephen Dunne - Democratic Unionist Party
Alex Easton - Independent
Connie Egan - Alliance Party
Jennifer Gilmour - Democratic Unionist Party
John Gordon - Traditional Unionist Voice
Naomi McBurney - Ulster Unionist Party
Therese McCartney - Sinn Féin
Ray McKimm - Independent
Andrew Muir - Alliance Party
Matthew Robinson - Conservative and Unionist Party
Déirdre Vaughan - Social Democratic and Labour Party
Rachel Woods - Green Party

South Antrim

Steve Aiken - Ulster Unionist Party
Róisín Bennett - Aontú
John Blair - Alliance Party
Pam Cameron - Democratic Unionist Party
Trevor Clarke - Democratic Unionist Party
Declan Kearney - Sinn Féin
Mel Lucas - Traditional Unionist Voice
Roisin Lynch - Social Democratic and Labour Party
Jerry Maguire - People Before Profit
Paul Michael - Ulster Unionist Party
Andrew Moran - Independent
Lesley Veronica - Green Party

South Down

Patrick Brown - Alliance Party
Patrick Clarke - Independent
Sinéad Ennis - Sinn Féin
Diane Forsythe - Democratic Unionist Party
Noleen Lynch - Green Party
Jill Macauley - Ulster Unionist Party
Cathy Mason - Sinn Féin
Paul McCrory - People Before Profit
Rosemary McGlone - Aontú
Colin McGrath - Social Democratic and Labour Party
Harold McKee - Traditional Unionist Voice
Karen McKevitt - Social Democratic and Labour Party


Kellie Armstrong - Alliance Party
Stephen Cooper - Traditional Unionist Voice
Harry Harvey - Democratic Unionist Party
Conor Houston - Social Democratic and Labour Party
Ben King - Independent
Róise McGivern - Sinn Féin
Nick Mathison - Alliance Party
Maurice McCartney - Green Party
Michelle McIlveen - Democratic Unionist Party
Mike Nesbitt - Ulster Unionist Party
Philip Smith - Ulster Unionist Party
Peter Weir - Democratic Unionist Party

Upper Bann

Glenn Barr - Ulster Unionist Party
Doug Beattie - Ulster Unionist Party
Glenn Beattie - Heritage Party
Jonathan Buckley - Democratic Unionist Party
Diane Dodds - Democratic Unionist Party
Darrin Foster - Traditional Unionist Voice
Aidan Gribbin - Aontú
Dolores Kelly - Social Democratic and Labour Party
Lauren Kendall - Green Party
Liam Mackle - Sinn Féin
John O’Dowd - Sinn Féin
Eóin Tennyson - Alliance Party

West Tyrone

Nicola Brogan - Sinn Féin
Barry Brown - Independent
Thomas Buchanan - Democratic Unionist Party
Trevor Clarke - Traditional Unionist Voice
Stephen Donnelly - Alliance Party
Amy Ferguson - Socialist Party
Carol Gallagher - People Before Profit
Paul Gallagher - Independent
Susan Glass - Green Party
James Hope - Aontú
Ian Marshall - Ulster Unionist Party
Declan McAleer - Sinn Féin
Daniel McCrossan - Social Democratic and Labour Party
Maolíosa McHugh- Sinn Féin

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