Belfast Telegraph

South Antrim

By Noel McAdam

If the DUP ends up taking a substantial hit in this election, due not least to the allegations surrounding the botched Renewable Heat Incentive scheme, South Antrim is one of the key constituencies where it stands to lose a seat, going down from three to two.

But former Alliance leader David Ford is also always vulnerable and could find himself locked in a cock fight for the last seat.

Recognising the challenge, Ford and his team have reportedly been knocking on more doors than any other election, though they have a cut-off point of 8pm.

Ulster Unionists are running two candidates but are likely to gain just one seat - probably Steve Aiken - with TUV transfers running about equally between them and the DUP.

Paul Girvan was the party’s poll-topper last May with more than 5,000 first preference votes and though colleagues Pam Cameron and Trevor Clarke are running again, Mr Clarke is being viewed as the DUP incumbent who is most at risk.

Sinn Fein’s national chairman Declan Kearney appears likely to take most of the nationalist vote unless there is a massive move towards the SDLP’s strong local candidate Roisin Lynch - who launched her party’s manifesto - who was more than 1,200 votes behind him last May.

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