Monthly Archives: February 2017
There are predictable constituencies in Northern Ireland and there are the ones that are too close to call. Here is a quick look at the four constituencies that should deliver some nail-biting contests and the toughest dog fights in Northern politics. Belfast South This is the most politically diverse and unpredictable constituency with five party representatives sharing the six seats last time around. Finance minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir and the SDLP’s Claire Hanna should make the short journey across town to Parliament Buildings. The DUP is by no means certain of returning both Christopher Stalford and Emma Little Pengelly. Clare Bailey from the Green Party and Paula Bradshaw have appeal for the cosmopolitan Belfast South electorate. In many constituencies transfers are important; in Belfast South they are so crucial they mark the difference between survival and defeat. This one will be a nail-biter. Belfast North This is the most polarised of … Continue reading
History shows that unionists tend not to vote tactically in large quantities. But should there prove to be sufficient numbers seeking to punish the DUP in relation to recent events like the Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme the fall-out in this constituency could potentially see them losing a seat here. But who would benefit? The DUP’s David Hilditch and Gordon Lyons appear to be in pole position to retain their seats but a question mark hangs over newcomer Stephen Ross, the party’s third candidate. UKIP, however, sees its best chance of replacing former NI leader David McNarry in the Assembly with Noel Jordan who performed well last May and came close to ousting the veteran Sinn Fein standard-bearer Oliver McMullan. But either he, or McMullan, could be squeezed out in the battle for the fifth seat. Alliance stalwart Stewart Dickson looks safe if transfers from his running mate, Danny Donnelly, run … Continue reading
Roy Beggs, Ulster Unionist Assembly candidate has called on Mid and East Antrim Borough Council to urgently review Land zoned for Industrial Development in the East Antrim area following his discovery that a significant proportion of the remaining land zoned for industrial use was being controlled by inter-related companies. Roy Beggs said, “It has come to my attention that much of the limited land zoned for industrial use in Carrickfergus area is under the control of companies with clear relationships. I believed that this is unhealthy and may be restricting the development of the local economy. I am contacting Mid and East Antrim Borough Council to make them aware of the close relationships that exist. “I believe that monopolies are unhealthy for business and I am calling on Council to zone additional land for industrial development and to consider de-zoning other land which would appear to have been used as … Continue reading
A former soldier has said that he was “disgusted” to learn of the details of Ciaran Maxwell’s crime. Maxwell, 31 and formerly of Larne (though latterly based in Devon), had been a Royal Marine but is now facing sentencing in a London court after being caught hoarding massive amounts of munitions in east Antrim. Andy Allen, an ex-soldier who was MLA for East Belfast prior to the dissolution of the Assembly ahead of the coming election, said: “It’s important to remember that this one person should not be allowed to bring the great reputation and name of the Armed Forces down. “I’m thankful he’s been caught before he was able to cause any harm to the general public, and indeed I’m confident the security forces will be doing all they can to ensure that no-one else is in this situation or this scenario. “Some people I’ve spoken to from an … Continue reading
Commenting on preferential voting Roy Beggs, a local Ulster Unionist candidate said, “I would ask voters to support myself and my Ulster Unionist colleague, John Stewart; then other pro-union candidates who have not been personally tainted by the RHI, NAMA and Red Sky Affairs; and then to continue to show a preference for other candidates who can help secure a stable peaceful NI with a growing economy for the benefit of all. Sinn Fein have forced this election in an irresponsible manner without ensuring that the budget is in place for public services beyond March. In East Antrim, with only 5 MLA’s to be elected and the increased quota requirement, the Sinn Fein seat is vulnerable if unionist turnout and vote. I would urge unionists, nationalist and other voters by their preferential voting to ensure that both the DUP and Sinn Fein pay for their poor record in government.