Election 2015: Mid Ulster

Rainey Street, Magherafelt
Rainey Street, Magherafelt

The Sinn Fein man seized the seat in 1997, taking 52 per cent of the vote, and political speculators say it remains a safe Sinn Fein seat.

In 2010, the DUP’s Ian McCrea took 14.4 per cent and the SDLP’s Tony Quinn 14.3 per cent.

The seat changed hands in 2013 when Mr McGuinness resigned as MP to concentrate on being Stormont’s deputy First Minister.

Then, his party colleague Francie Molloy took 46.9 per cent of the vote at a by-election.

At the time, the DUP and UUP both backed independent candidate Nigel Lutton, the son of an RUC reservist killed by the IRA in 1979.

This year in Mid Ulster, Sinn Fein, the DUP, the Alliance Party, the SDLP and the Workers Party all have candidates in the running, alongside Sandra Overend for the UUP and Westminster hopefuls from TUV, Ukip and the Conservatives.

DUP MLA Ian McCrea said the Mid Ulster area “is not stacked in unionist favour if you go back to 1997 when the government did the boundary changes to ensure my dad lost his seat”.

He said this had been the result of “the government gerrymandering the boundaries to make sure Sinn Fein won the seat by bringing in Coalisland and other areas, and taking out areas on the Omagh side”.

Whilst admitting it was “unfortunate” there are four unionists running in the one area, he said that the unionist voice still counts.

He said a main talking point on the doors is the make-up of the new Mid Ulster supercouncil, which is heavily nationalist, and “the decision to politicise the poppy in Mid Ulster”.

This is a reference to the fact that earlier this year the Mid Ulster council banned the sale of poppies at any council facilities throughout the area, ahead of a period of public consultation.

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein candidate Francie Molloy said that in spite of what political pundits have been predicting, he would not be complacent about the result – because “the only danger is complacency”.

Multi-media editor of the Mid Ulster Mail Michael McGlade said he did not believe there will be any surprises in the constituency after the results have been tallied up.

“I would predict that the status quo will be maintained and the unionist vote will be split three ways with possible further losses albeit minimal to the UKIP candidate.

“The change in the constituency boundary has probably reinforced it as a nationalist controlled seat.”

He told the News Letter: “Mid Ulster is facing its fifth election in six years with the prospect of assembly elections next year.”

However, he also said that “an analysis of the audience in the Mid Ulster Mail website proved a lack of engagement with politics locally and a lot of apathy”.


BULLICK, Eric (Alliance)

DAY, Alan Thomas (Ukip)



MOLLOY, Francie (Sinn Fein)

NICHOLSON, Lucille Diana (Conservatives)


QUINN, Malachy (SDLP)

SCULLION, Hugh Francis (The Workers Party)

2013 Westminster by-election:

• Francie Molloy (Sinn Fein): 17,462

46.9%, down by 5.1% on 2010

• Nigel Lutton (independent, agreed unionist candidate): 12,781


• Patsy McGlone (SDLP): 6,478

17.4%, up 3.1%

• Eric Bullick (Alliance): 487

1.3%, up 0.3%

Electorate: 67,192

Turnout: 55.7%


• M McGuinness (SF): 21,239

2%, +4.4%

• Ian McCrea (DUP): 5,876

14.4%, down 9.1%

• Tony Quinn (SDLP): 5,826

14.3%, down 3.1%

• Sandra Overend (UUP-Con): 4,509

11.0%, up 0.3%

• Walter Millar (TUV): 2,995


• Ian Butler (Alliance): 397


Electorate: 64,594

Turnout: 63.7%


• M McGuinness (SF): 21,641, 47.6%

• Ian McCrea (DUP): 10,665, 23.5%

• Patsy McGlone (SDLP): 7,922, 17.4%

• Billy Armstrong (UUP): 4,853, 10.7%

• F Donnelly (Workers Party): 345, 0.8%


• M McGuinness (SF): 25,667, 51.1%

• Ian McCrea (DUP): 15,549, 31.1%

• Eilis Haugheys (SDLP): 8,376, 16.8%

• F Donnelly (Workers Party): 509, 1%