Friday, 23 April 2010

Profile Number 1 - Foyle

In a hackneyed move, I'm going to start pulling together some brief constituency profiles (because no-one's ever done that before...). Hope you enjoy...first up is Foyle.

Foyle was created in 1983, when it was carved out of the old Londonderry constituency. The SDLP have been dominant here since then, with that party winning every election at every level here. Sitting MP and former SDLP leader Mark Durkan is defending his seat. He faces a very strong challenge from Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson (Mitchel McLaughlin MLA having cleared off to South Antrim), but should just pull it off, albeit helped along by Unionist tactical votes. Foyle comprises most of Derry City Council, save two wards which have been transferred to East Londonderry. That in itself won't do Durkan any favours, as both wards would have been fairly SDLP-friendly. For obvious reasons, the constituency is named Foyle to avoid having to choose any variation of Londonderry or Derry.

The Unionist cause is being represented by Cllr Dr David Harding, a Scottish born vet (and Coleraine councillor) fighting the seat for the Ulster Conservatives and Unionists and Ald. Maurice Devenney, the DUP candidate, who is a farmer from just outside the city. He replaces William Hay MLA, the perennial DUP candidate in this part of the world, who can't run, given his position as Speaker of the Assembly. Electoral veteran Eamonn McCann is also in the mix, having been around in north-western politics since before the beginning of time, or so it seems. He has always pulled in a relatively sturdy vote, but has never been elected. Interestingly, he is running on the ''People Before Profit'' ticket, his old bandwagon of Socialist Environmental Alliance (SEA), under which he fought the 2003 Assembly and 2005 General and Local Government elections in this constituency, appearing to have died the death. Alliance are running a chap named Keith McGrellis, who must be favourite to pick up the booby prize. Mind you, Alliance were strong in Londonderry once upon a time, with a number of representatives on the City Council.

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