2016 election: Will females take a seat in all-male Newry and Armagh?

A statue and cannon in Armagh, devoted to past British battles
A statue and cannon in Armagh, devoted to past British battles

Party-wise, Newry and Armagh is one of the most predictable constituencies of the 18 at Stormont – with three Sinn Fein and one each from DUP, UUP and SDLP safe bets to make for Assembly.

There is, however, one striking difference since 2011, when Newry-Armagh had the dubious distinction of being the only area which didn’t include any women in its line-up. This time, Megan Fearon (SF) and Karen McKevitt (SDLP) are on the list, with Fearon almost certain to make it, and McKevitt in competition with fellow runner Justin McNally for the sole SDLP seat.

The five nationalists-republicans will concentrate on the ‘green’ south for their votes, while the northern swathe belongs to the unionists. Last time, Danny Kennedy (UUP) and William Irwin (DUP) shared the spoils in the Tandragee-Markethill-Richhill region, although Kennedy has a running mate in Sam Nicholson (son of MEP Jim) and that could skew things slightly. Paul Berry (Ind Un) could also attract a measure of votes from Irwin on the first count. But the Kennedy-Irwin duo are the favourites.

Mainly Republican South Armagh will return the SF trio of Conor Murphy, Cathal Boylan and Fearon (replacing MP Mickey Brady from the 2011 card). And there is a plethora of small parties vying for greatness, although they rarely count in this constituency which typifies the Orange-Green divide of the main parties in Northern Ireland politics.

See here for profiles of more election constituencies.

2016 CANDIDATES:

• Paul Berry (Ind.)

• Cathal Boylan (SF)

• Emmet Crossan (Cannabis is Safer than Alcohol)

• Megan Fearon (SF)

• William Irwin (DUP)

• Danny Kennedy (UUP)

• Alan Love (UKIP)

• Martin McAllister (Ind,)

• Karen McKevitt (SDLP)

• Justin McNulty (SDLP)

• Conor Murphy (SF)

• Sam Nicholson (UUP)

• Michael Watters (Green)

• Craig Weir (Alliance)

RESULTS OF 2011 ELECTION:

Conor Murphy (SF) 9,127 (19.6%)

Danny Kennedy (UUP) 8,718 (18.7%)

Dominic Bradley (SDLP) 7,123 (15.3%)

Cathal Boylan (SF) 6,614 (14.2%)

William Irwin (DUP) 6,101 (13.1%)

Thomas O’Hanlon (SDLP) 3,825 (8.2%)

Mickey Brady (SF) 3,254 (8.2%)

Barrie Halliday (TUV) 830 (1.8%)

David Murphy (Alliance) 734 (1.6%)

Robert Woods (UKIP) 98 (0.2%)

James Malone (Ind.) 90 (0.2%)