Considered a unionist stronghold, the constituency of East Antrim stretches from Jordanstown right up to the Glens of Antrim. In the 2017 election, the DUP and UUP both won two seats while the Alliance took a fifth.
A reduction in seats from six to five saw Sinn Fein’s Oliver McMullan lose out, meaning there was no nationalist representation in the last Assembly term.
The DUP’s David Hilditch and Gordon Lyons enjoyed a 35% share of first-preference votes, with the UUP’s Roy Beggs and John Stewart taking 22% and Stewart Dickson of the Alliance taking 16%.
Unusually, all five members held their seats for the full term and are seeking re-election. There has never been a female MLA for East Antrim, but the SDLP’s Siobhan McAlister is running for the first time.
With the Alliance Party increasing its vote by 11% in the 2019 General Election, one of the big questions is whether Danny Donnelly can secure a second Assembly seat for his party this time around.
With recent polls suggesting Alliance is on course to become Northern Ireland’s third largest party, it will surely be a nervous wait for the UUP when the ballots are eventually counted at the Ulster University campus in Jordanstown.
This was the only constituency where the UUP gained a seat last time. According to the 2011 census, East Antrim has a population of just over 90,000 which includes around 36,000 households.
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A vast majority (nearly 70%) said they had a British identity compared to around 10% with an Irish identity and 31% considering themselves to have a Northern Irish identity. Around 20% were Catholic, while 70% were Protestant or other Christian religion.
One of the key issues for East Antrim in recent years has been job losses, most recently illustrated with PO workers protesting in Larne Harbour after being among 800 staff suddenly made redundant.
As a largely unionist constituency, one unknown factor is whether voters will be more influenced by tensions over the Northern Ireland Protocol or swayed by issues like the cost-of-living crisis.
Full list of candidates:
Mark Francis Bailey – Green Party
Roy Beggs – UUP
Norman Boyd – TUV
Stewart Dickson – Alliance Party
Danny Donnelly – Alliance Party
David William Hilditch – DUP
Gordon Lyons – DUP
Siobhan McAlister – SDLP
Oliver McMullan – Sinn Fein
John Stewart – UUP
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Articles may come from parliamentary reports, various public news feeds and Google News Search. Content is republished here for context. Copyright is respected and remains with the original author at all times. Original Article:https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/politics/northern-ireland-assembly-election-2022/constituency-profile-east-antrim-41593037.html