Belfast Telegraph

West Tyrone

By Cate McCurry

West Tyrone, a predominately nationalist constituency, will be the scene of a showdown with Sinn Fein and the SDLP battling to cling on to their seats in this election.

This area is traditionally a Sinn Fein stronghold but with the reduction in seats up for grabs and the pressing thorn in their side from SDLP candidate, Daniel McCrossan, the party face a tight battle.

A total of 15 candidates - including four independents - will be fighting for the votes in this mainly rural, conservative constituency.

At last year’s Assembly polls, Sinn Fein’s Barry McElduff, Michaela Boyle and Declan McAleer were voted in on the final count. The three candidates are running again this year, but without fourth running mate Grace McDermott who failed in her bid for election.

The DUP’s Thomas Buchanan, who was the first unionist in West Tyrone to retain his seat, is expected to be comfortably returned, despite the RHI scandal biting of the party’s heels.

One noticeable absentee is Ulster Unionist Ross Hussey who bowed out of politics for health issues last month. His replacement, Alicia Clarke is facing the electorate for the first time.

Also appearing on the ballot paper is controversial independent, Susan-Anne White who wants gay people jailed and feminism abolished.

She polled 85 first preference votes in last May’s election so it remains to be seen whether she can increase her election appeal.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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