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South Antrim Constituency Profile

SOUTH Antrim is a mixture of urban and rural areas represented at Westminster by Danny Kinahan of the Ulster Unionist Party.

Mr Kinahan taking the seat from the DUP’s Reverend William McCrea was one of the big upsets of last year’s British general election.

It marked the UUP returning to the House of Commons for the first time in over 10 years.

UUP leader Mike Nesbitt sees Mr Kinahan’s election and a second MP seat for Tom Elliott in Fermanagh South Tyrone, following a unionist pact in the constituency, as an indication that support is growing for his party after years of decline since the Good Friday Agreement.

The outgoing South Antrim MLAs are the DUP’s Pam Cameron, Trevor Clarke and Paul Givan, Alliance leader David Ford, Mitchel McLaughlin of Sinn Féin, who has retired from Stormont, and Ulster Unionist Adrian Cochrane-Watson, who replaced Mr Kinahan.

The three DUP representatives are likely to retain their seats despite the UUP fielding three candidates - Mr Cochrane Watson, Steve Aiken and Cllr Paul Michael - in an attempt to target a second seat.

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David Ford is standing down from the Justice ministry and it is widely expected Naomi Long or Dr Stephen Farry will be in the role if Alliance take on the Executive department again.

He should also be safely returned as an MLA.

In 2011 the DUP’s Mr Givan topped the poll with 4,844 votes and Mitchel McLaughlin, retiring Stormont speaker, was second with 4,662 votes.

Sinn Fein’s national chairman Declan Kearney seems certain to retain that seat for the party.

He faces a challenge from the SDLP candidate Cllr Roisin Lynch for nationalist votes.

But on balance it is likely there will be no change in the constituency after May 5th.

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