Local Elections: North Belfast

North Belfast comprises the Oldpark DEA, Castle DEA as well as part of Court DEA and some areas from Glengormley, which are actually in the Antrim-Newtownabbey DEA.
The Westminster MP is Nigel Dodds (DUP).
The six MLAs…three DUP, two Sinn Fein and one SDLP.

SF 3. SDLP 1. DUP 1. PUP 1.
SF 1. SDLP 1. Alliance 1. DUP 2. UUP 1.
Court (partly in West Belfast)
SF 2. DUP 2. PUP 1. TUV 1.

Sinn Fein have been spinning for years that this is a winnable Westminster seat. But that would require a total collapse of SDLP as well as a divided unionist vote.
The indications are that SDLP are under some threat locally but Sinn Fein seem under pressure as republican dissidents polled well without getting a seat.
I suspect there will be a single unionist candidate…as there will be deals done between DUP and UUP (who badly need a Westminster seat) to maximise the unionist vote.
Nichola Mallon, from Oldpark is likely to benefit from a high profile as incoming Mayor of Belfast…its SDLPs “turn” to hold the Office and Nichola will be the first nationalist woman to hold the post.
Although Alliance have council representation in Newtownabbey, they will be delighted to pick up their first seat in North Belfast (proper) for the first time in over a decade.
I would certainly expect that Nichola will be co-opted into the Assembly. I would expect Alban Magennis to stand down after April 2015.

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19 Responses to Local Elections: North Belfast

  1. Fear Feirsteach says:

    The seat IS winnable for SF. 2,224 votes was Dodds’ winning margin in 2010. A vote for SDLP in North Belfast is a useless extravagance – for a Westminister poll at any rate.

  2. SDLP supporter says:

    SDLP have good candidates here, Nichola is great, and she was great today at the rally, and Alban is of course a legend.

    • I can certainly think of at least three SDLP veterans who might stand down in favour of younger candidates.
      At Westminster, Id assume Nichola will be the candidate, having just completed the year as Mayor.
      Two others in West Tyrone and East Derry will be given their wings and co-opted on the basis of their performance.
      Id also expect some movement in South Belfast, where there is an excellent candidate-in-waiting.

      Getting the right people in place in Fermanagh-South Tyrone, Newry-Armagh (two or even three good choices there), Upper Bann, North Antrim, South Antrim and West Belfast, Strangford.unwinnabble seats in Westminster terms but raising the profiles of people will be very important.

      • Fear Feirsteach says:

        Do you see her in the Ferghal McKinney (poison chalice) role then?

      • Who? Nichola?
        In the sense of so called splitting the vote.
        It is the right and Id say duty of every political party to stand in every constituency.
        Voters can make up their own minds..

      • SDLP supporter says:

        That is a good point. Though Newry Armagh is not so far off from being winnable in Westminster terms.

      • At this point Id say there was a better chance of a second Assembly seat in 2016 than a Westminster seat. (It would require tactical voting by unionists but it could happen.
        Running Sharon Haughey or Thonas O’Hanlon in 2015 would be a better bet with 2016 in mind.
        Certainly its heartening that there is a solid SDLP vote in all Armagh DEAs….and that seconnd Slieve Gullion seat is crucial.

      • Stephen O'Neill's left boot says:

        who in God’s name do you have in mind for West Tyrone: surely not a certain young man from Strabane? If so, then really: you can’t be serious. I’m solid SDLP but the party is – despite how it might look to an outsider – absolutely floundering here.

        It’s symptomatic of the party generally: “brand” SDLP is dead in most of the 6c. Time for Fianna Fáil and Irish Labour to cross the border, split the SDLP constituency between them, and then have a real good go at the the Shinners on an Ireland basis.

      • Its absolutely bizarre that BEFORE Elections, people write off SDLP.
        Then we have a day of voting, three days of counting which seem to prove the exact oposite.
        Then people revert to SDLP are “dead”.

    • Fear Feirsteach says:

      There seems to be a lot of delusion in SDLP camp (and I say that as someone who just help elect an SDLP councillor). You are not going to win Newry & Armagh Westminister seat and if you don’t arrive at some tacit understanding with SF you will lose the South Belfast seat and your leader with it (then again the SDLP like nothing more than a leadership feud).

  3. boondock says:

    If Kelly just misses in 2015 against an inevitable unity candidate then sdlp may suffer in 2016 assembly just like they did in fst

    • Thats true.
      But I think worth it.
      With FST more so…if Gildernew loses there will be a backlash.
      That happened in 2010-11

    • Fear Feirsteach says:

      Worth pointing out that Mallon just about sneaked in ahead of an independent republican candidate in the council elections. If the effect of making her Lord Mayor is to boost Dodds’ chances of re-election then she has been handed a poison chalice.

  4. Fear Feirsteach says:

    Alban Maginnness suggested that Sinn Féin should have recommended their voters to transfer to the SDLP candidate. Of course this was hypocrisy on Alban’s part because the SDLP would NEVER recommend their voters transfer to Sinn Féin.

    • So you can point to a case where a senior Sdlp person said that he woulvdnt transfer to SF?
      And yet I can say the SF leader DID say he wouldnt transfer to SDLP.
      I am on record here as saying SF is my #2 on occasions when I have voted SDLP first.

      • Fear Feirsteach says:

        As I already said, I believe Alban was being hyprocritical – as well as engaging in sour grapes – when he suggested SF should have recommended their voters transfer to the SDLP candidate. Adams was perfectly entitled to be dismissive in response – to the winner belong the spoils.

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