Belfast Telegraph

West Tyrone By-Election 2018


Electorate Seats Total Poll Turnout Valid Poll Spoiled Votes
64,101 1 35,337 55% 35,029 305

Count 1

Count Results

   
Órfhlaith Begley SF 16,346
Thomas Buchanan Thomas Buchanan DUP 8,390
Daniel McCrossan Daniel McCrossan SDLP 6,254
Chris Smyth Chris Smyth UUP 2,909
Stephen Donnelly Stephen Donnelly AP 1,130
   
Órfhlaith Begley Órfhlaith Begley SF 16,346
Thomas Buchanan Thomas Buchanan DUP 8,390
Daniel McCrossan Daniel McCrossan SDLP 6,254
Chris Smyth Chris Smyth UUP 2,909
Stephen Donnelly Stephen Donnelly AP 1,130

Profile

Five candidates are contesting the West Tyrone by-election which was called after the resignation of Sinn Fein's Barry McElduff.

The former MP quit in January, 10 days after a controversy flared when he tweeted a video of himself with a Kingsmill-branded loaf on his head on the anniversary of the 1976 Kingsmill massacre. He insisted it was not an intentional reference to the murders of 10 Protestant workmen by republican paramilitaries, but he acknowledged he had caused hurt and offence to victims' families.

Sinn Fein candidate Orfhlaith Begley is defending a 10,000-plus majority in a seat where the party took just over 50% of votes cast in last year's general election. Thomas Buchanan is contesting the seat for the DUP, Stephen Donnelly for the Alliance, Daniel McCrossan for the SDLP and Chris Smyth for the UUP.

Sinn Fein vice president Michelle O'Neill believes the furore over Mr McElduff’s Kingsmill loaf tweet will not affect Sinn Fein’s vote in the constituency. She said she expects a strong showing, portraying the poll as the first chance for voters to cast judgment on the breakdown of the Stormont talks process earlier this year.

On the Ballot

Órfhlaith Begley

Órfhlaith Begley

Sinn Féin

Carrickmore solicitor Órfhlaith Begley (26) is a daughter of former chairman of Omagh District Council Sean Begley, who was a councillor for 26 years. She is defending Sinn Fein's 10,000-plus majority in a seat where the party took just over 50% of votes cast in last year's general election. Former MP Mr McElduff quit in January, after a controversy flared when he posted a video of himself with a Kingsmill-branded loaf on his head on the anniversary of the 1976 Kingsmill massacre.

Thomas Buchanan

Thomas Buchanan

Democratic Unionist Party

Thomas Buchanan was a member of Omagh District Council for 21 years and was first elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly in 2003. He was re-elected in 2016 and again in 2017. Before entering full-time politics, Mr Buchanan was a building contractor.

Stephen Donnelly

Stephen Donnelly

Alliance Party

A campaigner for integrated education, Stephen Donnelly stood in the Westminster elections in 2015 and 2017 and Assembly elections in 2016 and 2017. He is campaigning for a better road and transport infrastructure. He is against Brexit and in favour of the negotiation of a post-Brexit settlement that keeps Northern Ireland in the single market and avoids a hard border.

Daniel McCrossan

Daniel McCrossan

Social Democratic and Labour Party

Daniel McCrossan from Victoria Bridge near Strabane was co-opted to the Northern Ireland Assembly in January 2016 to replace Joe Byrne for whom he previously worked as a constituency assistant. He was elected as MLA for West Tyrone in May last year and again in 2017. He is the SDLP Infrastructure Spokesperson and was recently deputy chair of the PAC. A Policing Board member, he studied law at Liverpool John Moores University.

Chris Smyth

Chris Smyth

Ulster Unionist Party

After his nomination, the Omagh town councillor (25) said he was immensely proud of the faith the UUP has put in him, but was disappointed that a "non-partisan, non-party, cross community candidate was not found to demonstrate that the disrespect shown to victims of terrorism will not be tolerated".


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