West Tyrone borders Fermanagh and South Tyrone to the west, and Foyle to the east, currently dominated by SF which holds the Westminster seat and half of the available Assembly seats.

The DUP, UUP and SDLP have one seat a piece, with Thomas Buchanan, Ross Hussey and Daniel McCrossan holding these respectively.

Sinn Fein are running four candidates, the three sitting MLA’s Barry McElduff, Michaela Boyle, Declan McAleer and Grace  McDermott.

Thomas Buchanan will run again for the DUP with Allan Bresland as a sweeper securing that seat, though there was whispers in the constituency that Buchanan would retire.  Ross Hussey, the very popular UUP MLA is running again and sure to be returned if he builds on his just over 10% yield in 2011.

The SDLP are running former staffer of Joe Byrne, Daniel McCrossan.  They’ve faced numerous setbacks in this area – first a row over Council candidates, returning only one Strabane-based Councillor, then there was a row over McCrossan’s selection to replace Byrne, having not run in any election apart from the 2015 Westminster poll garnering 6,444 votes, 300 ahead of Hussey.

CISTA are running Barry Brown, the NI Conservatives are running Roger Lomas, Alliance’s Stephen Donnelly and the Independent Corey French will join them.

In 2011 SF had 3.5 quotas, and in 2015 Pat Doherty lost 4.9% of his vote on his 2010 totals, with the SDLP and UUP adding marginally to their 2010 totals.

The DUP and UUP have a seat each in the bank.  The UUP may want to run a second here to carry Hussey home but he should be safe.

CISTA, Alliance, NI Conservatives and the Independent candidate will not come within any distance of a seat here.

The big question here will be, can the SDLP hold against SF given the internal meltdown and terrible performance from non-Derry based candidates in the 2014 local government election, returning Patsy Kelly who is known to oppose McCrossan.

Cllr Kelly has already had the party whip withdrawn once over his opposition to McCrossan, and now a second time, for suggesting that the party would run a second candidate in the constituency for the Assembly.

Party apparatchiks moved quickly to undermine this story, but the saga has reached the point of being a joke now – that a modern political party would allow such abject indiscipline means either the rifts between the two camps is long past repair, or the one representative who actually has his own mandate is playing a blinder – either way, the vote will suffer.

If the internal rumblings hit the SDLP campaign, or indeed voter confidence, the seat will go – and go to Sinn Fein whose fourth candidate was less than 350 behind Byrne in 2011.

Here’s how we see it:

SF x 4

DUP x 1

UUP x 1

SDLP need to get their act together here.  A loss here would mean no Assembly members anywhere west of Derry.



  1. Sorry, i know any amature can make election predictions based on figures, but can you point to which election the SDLP fell below a quota in WT? Or when SF came close to 4 quotas? I think this is just sloppy post, designed only to try and get views. Please educate yourself on elections.


    1. Good morning ‘Big John’. Firstly can I say the tone of your post falls well below what we would normally expect from our readers, but in the interests of freedom of speech we will allow it this once. Primarily, this is a post about the May 2016 Assembly elections, not a historical analysis of who reached a quota and when. Secondly, as has been demonstrated by the official figures, SF came close to a fourth quota in 2011 as we outlined, 7.7% for McAleer to 8.5% for Byrne. Thirdly, the word is amateur, and fourthly, if this post was as sloppy as you contest, hundreds of people would surely not have read it and shared it. In conclusion, might we remind you that all of our material is backed up by information in the public domain, we are and will remain politically neutral.


  2. I would have to agree with Big John although the not in the same tone. Sinn Fein came close to a 4th Quota in 2011 however by 2015 their vote dropped by 1200 (4.5%). This brought the Sinn Fein vote to just over 16000. Although the different electoral systems (STV and FPTP) yield different results there has been a significant drop in the SF vote bringing them down to just about three quotas.

    Secondly, the SDLP picked up those 1200 votes and secured 6444 votes at the 2015 WM election, a significant increase from its 5200 vote in 2010. Although in 2011 Byrne only secured 3500 first preference votes a number of factors were against the SDLP. Two independent candidates (previously SDLP elected representatives) stood in West Tyrone and this damaged the SDLP vote. Also, Byrne did not have the factor of incumbency that McCrossan now has in West Tyrone and thirdly, there was no SDLP ground force in 2011 with no offices in either Strabane nor Omagh and very few members. The SDLP are in a much better position than in 2011. The increase in votes, increase in membership, organisation on the ground and stronger mandate can not be dismissed as factors.

    Although infighting have taken the limelight in local papers such as the Strabane chronicle and the Ulster Herald people recognise that every story has three sides and that not all is to believed when read in the papers. Overall I think your accessment is of the mark but a good story.


    1. Thank you for your comment. A few points; whilst your figures are indeed correct for 2011 and 2015, research would indicate that not all voters who vote in one election will vote in another, as the turnout shows. Whilst there was an increase in the SDLP in 2015 at Westminster for example, all candidates bar one from the constituency for Derry and Strabane DC were heavily defeated, only a short time from the WM election. In terms of organisation, this is surely a debatable factor in our opinion.


      1. I would have to agree that the management of the 2014 council election on the Strabane side was abmissmal with 2 candidates in the Derg DEA (opposed to one) and 3 in Sperrin (opposed to 2) but this doesn’t come into play in this election as only one person is standing for the SDLP and hence vote splits cannot happen.

        I understand the research regarding STV and FPTP systems and hence I mentioned it in my previous comment. Voting trends can rarely be compared between the two systems as people vote differently.


  3. Excellent analysis – Which is extremely rare in NI – so good job.

    I’m of the opinion SF won’t have the numbers for 4 seats, and if they do they won’t have the balance.

    SF 3, SDLP 1, DUP 1, UUP 1 in what is one of the more mundane seats of the election.

    Liked by 1 person

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