Election 2015: West Tyrone

The Omagh bomb  remembrance gardens in Omagh town centre
The Omagh bomb remembrance gardens in Omagh town centre

Incumbent Pat Doherty won 48.4 per cent of the vote in 2010, a majority of almost 10,700 votes – or 28.7 per cent of the whole turnout.

His closest rivals were the DUP’s Tom Buchanan with 19.8 per cent and the UUP’s Ross Hussey with 14.2 per cent, while the SDLP’s Joe Byrne took 14 per cent.

In 2010 the combined vote behind the DUP/UUP/SDLP was only 0.5 per cent behind that of Doherty, lending support to claims of continuing grassroots discontent with his abstentionism from Westminster.

Hot issues on the ground are job creation, delays in construction of the A5 dual carriageway, and the impact of austerity measures.

Mr Buchanan said: “In mixed areas we are canvassing, nationalists are raising the issue of their lack of representation at Westminster from Pat Doherty.”

Up to 40 per cent of his constituency work is done for nationalists, he said.

He is still convinced that the DUP will “hold and increase” the DUP vote.

“But we need really economic investment and I have never seen Pat Doherty at an economic development event.

“I have not seen him in the local papers until the past month. People on the ground refer to him as ‘an absentee MP’.”

Similarly SDLP candidate Daniel McCrossan, aged 26, is targeting young voters who are “disillusioned with sectarian politics” and those who have been “without a voice in Westminster for 14 years”.

He said it was “unbelievable” that Doherty did not understand the importance to the constituency of taking his seat.

But Sinn Fein hit back that over the last term Mr Doherty played “a pivotal role” a string of projects.

The party listed these as follows: Delivery of the A5 Road project; the Radiotherapy Unit at Altnagelvin; the demilitarisation of Lisanelly and St Lucia; Omagh Education Campus, Strabane Business Park; Beragh Flood Defence scheme; Three Rivers Project; Provision of Rural Broadband and Mobile Infrastructure; Riverine Project and Investment in the community and voluntary sector; an Enhanced Hospital for Omagh; the Strathroy Link Road and an effective Rural Development programme.

He also engaged directly with public meetings in Cranagh, Creggan and Aghyaran in relation to CAP reforms, and travels to London regularly to lobby on behalf of his constituents, his party said.

Alliance candidate Stephen Donnelly, a former student of Drumragh Integrated College in Omagh, is pinning his campaign on integrated education as a driver to a shared future.

“I have been deeply disappointed by the education minister’s opposition to expansion at Drumragh,” he said. “There is growing demand in West Tyrone for integrated education, yet that demand is not being met by the supply of places.”

CANDIDATES (9)

BROWN, Barry (Cannabis is Safer than Alcohol)

BUCHANAN, Tom (DUP)

DOHERTY, Pat (Sinn Fein)

DONNELLY, Stephen (Alliance)

HUSSEY, Ross (UUP)

LEYLAND, Claire (Conservatives)

MCCLEAN, Ciaran (Green Party)

MCCROSSAN, Daniel (SDLP)

WHITE, Susan (Independent)

2010:

• Pat Doherty (Sinn Fein): 18,050

48.4%, up by 9.5% on 2005

• Thomas Buchanan (DUP): 7,365

19.8%, up 2%

• Ross Hussey (UUP-Con): 5,281

14.2%, up 7.3%

• Joe Byrne (SDLP): 5,212

14.0%, + 4.9%

• Michael Bower (Alliance): 859

2.3%

• Ciaran McClean (Ind.): 508

1.4%

Electorate: 61,148

Turnout: 61.5%

2005:

• Pat Doherty (Sinn Fein): 16,910

38.9%

• Kieran Deeny (Independent): 11,905

27.4%

• Thomas Buchanan (DUP): 7,742

17.8%

• Eugene McMenamin (SDLP): 3,949

9.1%

• Derek Hussey (UUP): 2,981

6.9%

2001:

• Pat Doherty (Sinn Fein): 19,814

40.8%

• Willie Thompson (UUP): 14,774

30.4%

• Brid Rodgers (SDLP): 13,942

28.7%