Assembly Election 2022: North Antrim

North Antrim is a constituency which includes Ballymena, Ballymoney, Bushmills, Ballycastle. The buckle on Norn Iron’s Bible Belt. A nationalist area around Ballycastle.

North Antrim : Currently there are five MLAs…DUP (2) UUP (1) TUV (1) Sinn Féin (1).

On Monday, I passed thru Ballymoney and later stopped off in Ballymena. Frankly little sign of an election in Ballymena.

The spreadsheet shows Assembly 2017 and Westminster 2019 results. For the benefit of folks in USA, it is important to understand that Assembly is decided in eighteen constituencies where having a quota of votes is required to win one of five seats. And Westminster is decided on a simple “first past the post” vote. I also include the runners and riders for 2022.

The Quota will be high. Maybe 8,000 votes.

North Antrim is an odd constituency marked by unionist infighting and a bunker mentality against nationalists.

Paul Frew has been allocated Ballymena and Mervyn Storey has been allocated Ballymoney. Both big hitters. If either lost it would be big news. Ultimately this is Paisley territory…where Rev Ian first began his political career over fifty years ago. And where his son Ian Junior is practically MP for life.

Robin Swann is Minister for Health and based in Ballymena, No posters. He is credited with doing the best job possible during COVID and despised by Anti-Vaxers. But the Health Service is in crisis. And he deserves no credit for that.

Running mate is Bethany Ferris.

To some extent Jim Allister is the “New Ian Paisley” . Some would say rabble-rouser. Some would say thorn in the side of the unionist “Establishment”. In 2022, the unionist establishment is the DUP. Jim aided and abetted by a shock jock on BBC Radio Ulster has really one issue…The Protocol. And an aversion to anything to do with nationalists.

Matthew Armstrong, his running mate is allocated to Ballymena.

Philip McGuigan the Sinn Féin MLA is likely to hold the nationalist quota.

Patricia O’Lynn has been making progress and tipped by some to take a seat. If he does, it will not be at the expense of “Sunny Jim” Allister or Philip McGuigan. It would have to be a big name…Fre, Storey or Swann.

I think it is a bridge too far.

Eugene Reid is SDLP candidate and in recent years SDLP has failed to bring out its core vote in North Antrim.

Green Party candidate Paul Veronica will not make an impression.

Laird Singleton is an Independent Unionist.


None. But Jim Allister is a “one man band” but a noisy one. He really needs to get a few TUV folks elected or just be labeled as a marginalised figure.

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