2016 election: Ex-UUP/NI21 man McCallister among South Down contenders

The Mourne Mountains with the South Down town of Newcastle in the foreground
The Mourne Mountains with the South Down town of Newcastle in the foreground

Out of only 12 candidates here, several are big names.

Jim Wells is long established in the area, but rose to Province-wide prominence in the run-up to last year’s general election when he became embroiled in a gay adoption row.

This was thought to be behind the DUP’s delay in announcing him as a candidate again, but his profile in the constituency is such that re-election seems assured.

John McCallister is also well known but now has the tougher challenge of running as an independent, having left the UUP, for whom he was last elected, and then also NI21, which he helped found. He will be hoping that his moderate credentials result in cross-community support. The UUP’s Harold McKee will be hoping to benefit from Mr McCallister’s past defections.

Henry Reilly (TUV) is well known in Kilkeel, and fared well in South Down in 2011 for UKIP, which he later quit.

Sinn Fein and the SDLP have three candidates, having won two MLAs each last time.

Caitriona Ruane, the former education minister, is best known of these six ‘green’ candidates.

The other two incumbents are Sean Rogers, SDLP, and Chris Hazzard, SF, who were both co-opted, the former to replace MP Margaret Ritchie.

More stories from the election will be put on here later on Thursday and on Friday

2016 CANDIDATES:

• Sinead Bradley (SDLP)

• Patrick Brown (Alliance)

• Michael Gray-Sloan (Sinn Fein)

• John Hardy (Green)

• Chris Hazzard (Sinn Fein)

• John McCallister (Independent)

• Colin McGrath (SDLP)

• Harold McKee (UUP)

• Henry Reilly (TUV)

• Sean Rogers (SDLP)

• Caitríona Ruane (Sinn Fein)

• Jim Wells (DUP)

RESULTS OF 2011 ELECTION:

Margaret Ritchie (SDLP) 8,506 (20.4%)

Caitriona Ruane (SF) 5,955 (14.3%)

Jim Wells (DUP) 5,200 (12.5%)

John McCallister (UUP) 4,409 (10.6%)

Willie Clarke (SF) 3,882 (9.3%)

Karen McKevitt (SDLP) 3,758 (9.0%)

Naomi Bailie (SF) 3,050 (7.3%)

Eamonn O’Neill (SDLP) 2,663 (6.4%)

Henry Reilly (UKIP) 2,332 (5.6%)

Cadogan Enright (Green) 1,107 (2.7%)

D Griffin (Alliance) 864 (2.1%)