Belfast Telegraph


By Donna Deeney

In the overwhelmingly nationalist constituency of Foyle, both Sinn Fein and the SDLP are playing it safe by fielding just two candidates each.

The SDLP has held three seats since the first Assembly election but were left red-faced in May when Gerard Diver failed to secure enough votes.

Last May, Sinn Fein also suffered a fail when its attempt to take a third seat in Foyle cost Maeve McLaughlin dearly.

She didn't manage to join Martin McGuinness and Raymond McCartney.

Replacing Martin McGuinness on the ballot ticket is Elisha McCallion, a former Mayor of the city who typifies the party's change of image with a focus on younger candidates with no direct connection to the armed struggle.

It would be foolish, however, to dismiss People Before Profit's Eamonn McCann who scooped a seat from under the noses of both Sinn Fein and the SDLP in May 2016.

With only five Assembly seats up for grabs, he could once again upset the apple cart.

McCann appealed to voters across the religious divide and it will depend on the strength of feeling about the Renewable Heat Initiative fiasco if his vote increases amongst unionist voters.

DUP candidate Gary Middleton who secured the seat with ease last May will need to work hard against his main contender for the unionist votes, Julie McKee from the Ulster Unionist Party, who is also capitalising on the RHI backlash.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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