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14 remarkable moments from the General Election in Northern Ireland

We knew from the first murmurings of the words 'unionist pact' that the General Election in Northern Ireland was never going to be dull. Claire Cromie picks out the funniest, most shocking and downright strange moments of the 2015 campaign.

Published 08/05/2015

Sinn Fein's Michelle Gildernew was pictured pole dancing while out canvassing with Martin McGuinness and Phil Flanagan in Fermanagh. The moment was captured on camera by reporter Rodney Edwards... and by McGuiness.
Sinn Fein's Michelle Gildernew was pictured pole dancing while out canvassing with Martin McGuinness and Phil Flanagan in Fermanagh. The moment was captured on camera by reporter Rodney Edwards... and by McGuiness.
The first major electoral pact in almost 30 years was agreed between the two leading unionist parties. DUP leader Peter Robinson and UUP leader Mike Nesbitt hoped to oust Alliance and Sinn Fein in four constituencies. They succeeded in three, with SF's Micky Brady holding on to the Newry and Armagh seat.
An emotional John Coyle, who was running for the SDLP in Fermanagh and South Tyrone, was reduced to tears during an interview in which he spoke of how it felt to be mocked online following a nervous appearance on BBC One’s The View. "I was bullied at school and this is the exact same thing," he said.
Veteran Ulster Unionist Rev Martin Smyth accused DUP standard-bearer Jonathan Bell of misleading him over the signing of nomination papers, saying he'd "pulled a fast one" on him. Bell insisted it had been an honest mistake, but Smyth said he would be voting for Rodney McCune.
She had already made a name for herself with her controversial views - wanting gay people jailed, adultery made illegal and rock bands outlawed. But West Tyrone hopeful Susan-Anne White sparked a police investigation when she claimed gay people were 40 times more likely to abuse children.
The Electoral Office warned nationalist candidates in Londonderry that if they wrote 'Derry' on their nomination papers, they wouldn't be allowed to stand. The SDLP was furious, but a spokeswoman said the office was bound by legislation.
An Ulster Unionist MLA was mistaken for a male stripper when canvassing for votes. Robin Swann was going door to door in his North Antrim constituency when he was mistaken for a male stripper arriving for a party at a house in Dervock.
The East Belfast parliamentary race descended into a bitter personality clash, with DUP candidate Gavin Robinson claiming Naomi Long had refused to speak to him in over three years. His Alliance rival insisted she'd spoken to him many times and hit back at the 'personal attack' on her character.
David Cameron was put on the spot when a member of the public, Mary Hassan from Derry, challenged him on why he would consider going into coalition with the DUP, given the party's stance on gay rights. The Tory leader said he “profoundly disagreed” with the party's policy and would never validate it.
The DUP's Jim Wells ignited a political storm over his stance on same-sex relationships when he claimed children brought up by gay parents were more likely to be abused. He resigned from his post as Health Minister after video footage of his comments went viral.
Allegations of dirty tricks reached a low point on the eve of the election. Hundreds of anonymous letters were sent by first-class post to voters in North Belfast, making malicious accusations about Nigel Dodds. Meanwhile the homes of Sinn Fein's Martina Anderson, Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness were the target for bomb threats and paint attacks.
In the biggest shock of election night, Free Presbyterian minister William McCrea lost his South Antrim seat to the UUP's Danny Kinahan. He said: "As I pass the mantle to Danny, I leave with dignity, with integrity and with great pride."
Northern Ireland's first ever Sikh candidate duped Ed Miliband on a train - and it was all captured on camera. Amandeep Singh Bhogal lured Miliband into a selfie before producing a mask of Nicola Sturgeon's face.
Gerry Kelly released a bizarre Star Wars-themed election video, in which Sinn Fein secured the unlikely backing of the imperial forces by convincing a Star Wars Stormtrooper to back him on May 7. But North Belfast backed Dodds in the end, proving most would prefer Kelly stayed in a galaxy far, far away...

 

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