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It’s back to the polls for West Tyrone voters

Thursday, 5 April 2018

VOTERS in West Tyrone will go back to the polls for the fifth time in two years following confirmation that a date for the Westminster by-election to replace former MP for West Tyrone., Barry McElduff, has been set for next month.

On Friday evening the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland released information confirming that a date for the by-election has been set for Thursday, May 3.

The contest will see candidates vying to replace the seat held by the Sinn Féin man for just seven months before he resigned in January.

The Carrickmore man faced a backlash after he posted a controversial video on Twitter of himself balancing a loaf of Kingsmill bread on his head on the 42nd anniversary of the Kingsmill atrocity.

Ten Protestant workmen were shot dead by the IRA near the south Armagh village on January 5, 1976.

Mr McElduff insisted he had not realised the connection but Kingsmill victims' relatives expressed outrage and rejected his apology.

Sinn Féin initially suspended him from all party activities for three months but such was the verocity of protest that Mr McElduff tendered his resignation as MP.

At the time, he spoke of his regret acknowledging the "deep and unnecessary hurt" the video caused but reiterated his stance that he never intended to cause offence.

 

Since then, most political parties have been slow to confirm who they are running on the ballot but it's understood many were waiting for official confirmation of the by-election date before showing their hand. Only three candidates have so far been formally announced.

Party sources this week said discussions are being held and announcements are expected to be made over the coming days with nominations opening tomorrow (Thursday) and closing next Tuesday, April 10.

The deadline for registering to vote is April 17 with the deadline for applications for postal and proxy votes April 13.

 

 

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