West Tyrone result appears as predictable as ever

Thursday, 8 June 2017

VOTERS go to the polls tomorrow, Thursday, June 8, once again in the Westminster election with the West Tyrone constituency not expected to produce any major surprises.

The indicators from previous contests would suggest that the count should be fairly straight forward, with Barry McElduff, of Sinn Féin, expected to maintain the 10,000 or so lead the party had in the 2015 election when the party's Pat Doherty was returned as MP.

If the form book holds Tom Buchanan of the DUP will come in next with Daniel McCrossan (SDLP) and Alicia Clarke (UUP) likely to follow in third and fourth spots respectively.

Stephen Donnelly (Alliance), Ciaran McClean (Green Party) and Barry Brown (CISTA) will follow on and probably in that order although the main focus of attention in this end of the race will be the performance of Stephen Donnelly and whether he can maintain his momentum from the Assembly election.

This snap general election has complicated the talks process at Stormont and is a scenario that was not factored in when the discussions were paused for Easter.

The DUP and Sinn Féin are also diametrically split over Brexit - the issue driving Prime Minister Theresa May's plan to hold a general election.

Mrs May said the poll would "guarantee certainty" during negotiations with the EU, after Labour, the Scottish National Party and the Liberal Democrats threatened to vote against her government's final Brexit deal.

Under its long-standing policy of abstentionism in protest against British rule, Sinn Féin MPs do not take their seats in the Commons. This has been the stick other candidates have been beating Barry McElduff with, but despite this, and going on the evidence of the past, it will have little effect on those who are going to vote for his party anyway.

The usual issues have been to the fore throughout the constituency but, with little chance of a change, despite calls from Tom Buchanan for a united unionist candidate, it looks like a case of 'as you were' in West Tyrone.


Candidates at a glance

Barry Brown, Citizens Independent Social Thought Alliance

Thomas Buchanan, DUP

Alicia Clarke, UUP

Stephen Donnelly, Alliance

Ciaran McClean, Green Party

Daniel McCrossan, SDLP

Barry McElduff, Sinn Fein


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