#GE2019 Profile: If there’s *any* negative unionist reaction to the DUP it could be in East Londonderry

11 Dec

This more or less the northern chunk of the old Londonderry County Council and a little sliver of northeast Antrim. Biggest town, Coleraine. The religious split is much closer than it used to be with Protestants in a majority, but only just at 53%. Catholics are 42%, and others 4.4%. The Unionist battle is pretty uneven, with the DUP’s Gregory Campbell easily outstripping his UUP rival in 2017 by 48.1% to 7.6%. He faces the same candidate, Richard Holmes again … Read more

#GE2019 Profile: Major interest in Mid Ulster will be looking for any trends

11 Dec

Next, we skip over (and through) to Mid Ulster. As Gerry Lynch said in 2007, it “clusters around the exact geographical centre of Northern Ireland”, even though to most of us easterners thing it feels very west, most days Magherafelt is just an easy hour’s drive up the M2 from the centre of Belfast. The religious balance here stands at 67% Catholic to 31% Protestant, so there’s no question the seat goes any other way than nationalist. Sinn Féin’s Vice … Read more

#GE2019 Profile: Chris Hazzard should prove resilient in one of Sinn Féin’s closer races

11 Dec

Polling day is almost here, so I’m afraid, I’m going to have to wrap the last three remaining constituencies in slightly shorter order than previously. First of these is the one seat that the SDLP lost last time out, South Down. Notable mostly because few think it will change hands. It’s  a wide sprawling constituency that runs from the Windy Gap at the very top of Lagan valley down through Crossgar and Ballynahinch, through the old county town of Downpatrick … Read more

#GE2019 Profile: Without a decent UUP presence in East Belfast, it’s the DUP’s for the taking

10 Dec

East Belfast (75%) vies for the title of most Protestant constituency usually with my own home place of North Down (74%) and Strangford (73%), although none of them compete with the most Catholic constituency, West Belfast which now stands at 80%. The shipyard is long gone, but according to Gerry Lynch’s profile in 2007, East Belfast remains home to a prosperous skilled working-class population. It’s most deprived areas lie in the inner east, where the Catholic Short Strand and the … Read more

#GE2019 Profiles: Hard work, and “don’t split the vote” will see Carla Lockhart home in Upper Bann

9 Dec

In old money, this is north Co Armagh up to the edges of Lough Neagh above Portadown and Lurgan and the eastern parts of Co Down and almost into what you might think of as the south of that historic county even reaching as far as the religiously mixed town of Loughbrickland. Its major towns are all relatively prosperous. However, both Portadown and Lurgan (either end of “Craigavon”) are affected by strong delineations of Catholic North and Protestant south which … Read more

#GE2019 Profile: Aiken seeks UUP progress rather than a win in East Antrim

9 Dec

The most coastal of all Northern Irish constituencies, which contains hardly any inland aspect. East Antrim takes in most of the southern and eastern fringe of am Antrim coast running from Newtonabbey on the edge of North Belfast to the Glens just a few miles short of Torr Head. Its huge coastal reach was extended in 2010 after three wards from the old Moyle Council replaced Cloughfern in Newtonabbey making the whole constituency slightly more Catholic than before. The split … Read more

#GE2019 Profile: South Antrim is liberals (and maybe some nats) v the DUP…

6 Dec

South Antrim comprises a lot of disparate places from its north-west where it runs alongside Lough Neagh from Toomebridge to Antrim town and Crumlin, then over to Ballyclare, Doagh and down into the urbanised fringes of Belfast and parts of Newtonabbey like Glengormley. Although it comprises a lot of countryside as Gerry Lynch noted in 2007, “almost half of the electorate live in what, by most people’s definitions, would count as Belfast”. Most of the rest live or derive income … Read more

GE2019 Profile: Lagan Valley provides more interest at the bottom of the race than the top

4 Dec

Lagan Valley straddles the eponymous river that marks the boundary between two of the old county authorities of Antrim to the north and Down to the south. At its centre is the large town (although officially speaking it’s now the small city) of Lisburn. Billowing out north and south is a large rural hinterland stretching to the small hill farms around the river’s source in the Dromara Hills on the edge of South Down, west to the fringe of Banbridge … Read more

#GE2019 Profile: Strangford belongs to Gentleman Jim Shannon…

3 Dec

Strangford draws its name from the sea lough that bisects it between the Ards Peninsula and ‘mainland’ County Down. It is predominantly Protestant with a few enclaves of Catholic areas most notably the southern end of the Ards peninsula where most of the county’s Hurling players come from. It’s a relatively prosperous constituency where the farming land is relatively rich (Comber early potatoes have had protected geographical indication (PGI) since 2012), and most of the towns are, as Gerry Lynch … Read more