Belfast Telegraph

Constituency profile: Fermanagh/South Tyrone

By Staff Reporter

It is Northern Ireland’s most finely-balanced constituency — and a titanic contest is once again in store as Tom Elliott and Michelle Gildernew face off in Fermanagh-South Tyrone.

In 2010 this constituency witnessed one of the most closely-fought elections in UK political history after Ms Gildernew defeated unionist unity candidate Rodney Connor by just four votes.

And in 2015 Mr Elliott, the UUP candidate backed by the DUP, emerged as the winner by fewer than 600 votes.

Sinn Fein will be hoping to emulate its strong performance at this year’s Assembly elections when it won three of the five seats in the constituency.

The SDLP is fielding Mary Garrity, who is currently the chairwoman of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council.

It is hoping for an improved performance on 2015 when its candidate John Coyle lost out on more than 800 votes compared to their 2010 performance.

Unknown 2015 Alliance candidate Hannah Su was last over the finish line with just 658 votes, while the Green Party’s Tanya Jones, who gained 788 votes last time, is hoping to increase her share next Thursday.

Noreen Campbell, a former teacher and principal of an integrated school, is standing this time for the Alliance Party.

The most westerly constituency in UK, it has traditionally delivered some of the biggest stories. Held at one time by the Duke of Westminster and at another by  IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands, it has flipped between orange and green over the years.

It has a consistently high turnout — 93.4% of the electorate voted in 1951, when nationalist candidate Cahir Healy defeated unionist rival Frederick Patterson,  a UK record for any election.

Candidates:

Noreen Campbell (Alliance)

Tom Elliott (UUP)

Mary Garrity (SDLP)

Michelle Gildernew (Sinn Fein)

Tanya Jones (Green Party)

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