Local Election 2019

Constituency Notebook: Mid Ulster set to serve up a sizzling election battle

The Hill of The O'Neill in Dungannon is a key landmark in Mid Ulster
Connla Young

MID Ulster is set to serve up a sizzling showdown when voters go to the polls on Thursday.

Stretching from the border to the foothills of the Sperrin Mountains and bounded by Lough Neagh to the east, the district is traditionally an important battleground.

As in previous years the clash within nationalism will dominate interest.

The competition between different shades of republicanism will be to the fore with Sinn Féin, pro-life party Aontú and several independents jostling for their share of the council’s 40 seats.

Aontú’s entry into the fray in the mainly rural Carntogher and Magherafelt electoral areas will test support for Sinn Féin’s decision to back abortion.

Mary Lou McDonald’s party is currently the largest on the nationalist-controlled council with 18 seats, while the SDLP holds six and independent republican Barry Monteith completes the green line-up.

Across the chamber the DUP has eight seats while the UUP holds seven.

Keen observers will keep a close eye on the battle in the Torrent electoral area which runs from Donaghmore to the loughshore.

Coalisland based independent republican candidate Dan Kerr is bidding for a seat in the strongly nationalist district while Sinn Féin will hope to retain its four seats through Ronan McGinley, Mickey Gillespie, Joe O’Neill and Niamh Doris.

A key factor this time around could be the SDLP’s decision to play safe and run just one candidate.

The party will be confident of holding onto its single seat through sitting councillor Malachy Quinn and his surplus could be important in deciding the final outcome.

Unionist attention will also be fixed on this electoral area as the DUP's Ian McCrea - son of former MP Rev William McCrea - attempts to make a political comeback after losing his assembly seat in 2016.

However, the UUP’s Robert Colvin will be determined to hold onto the only unionist seat in the area.

Dungannon will see the main nationalist parties and independents slug it out in what is set to be a blistering contest.

A poll topper in 2014 with 1,458 votes, Barry Monteith is seeking to bring fellow independent Niall Bowen over the line with him this time round.

Also in the hunt is high profile SDLP councillor Denise Mullen, who is her party’s sole candidate in this district electoral area (DEA).

Sinn Féin’s two candidates include councillor Dominic Molloy and hopeful Deirdre Varsani.

At the top end of the council district Sinn Féin has turned its eye to an extra seat in Carntogher, which covers a large portion of south Derry.

In what is sure to be a closely scrutinised clash, Aontú has entered the race through well-known Irish language activist Pádraigin Uí Raifearttaigh.

Sinn Féin council chair Sean McPeake is joined on the ticket by Brian McGuigan while former assembly election candidate Cora Groogan and ex-Magherafelt councillor Paul Henry have also thrown their names into the mix.

Sitting SDLP councillor Martin Kearney will hope to hold onto his party's only seat in the DEA.

Unionist eyes will be on the fortunes of Kyle Black, whose prison officer father David Black was shot dead by dissident republicans in 2012.

Clogher Valley (6 seats)

Frances Burton (DUP)

Phelim Gildernew (SF)

Meta Graham (UUP)

Sharon McAleer (SDLP)

Sean McGuigan (SF)

Robert Mulligan (UUP)

Wilis Robinson (DUP)

Magherafelt (5 seats)

Wesley Brown (DUP)

Sean Clarke (SF)

Kevin Donnelly (Aontú)

Christie McFlynn (SDLP)

Paul McLean (DUP)

George Shiels (UUP)

Darren Totten (SF)

Dungannon (6 seats)

Kim Ashton (DUP)

Niall Bowen (Ind)

Mel Boyle (All)

Walter Cuddy (UUP)

Clement Cuthertson (DUP)

Kim McNeill (UUP)

Dominic Molly (SF)

Barry Monteith (Ind)

Denise Mullen (SDLP)

Deirdre Varsani (SF)

Cookstown (7 seats)

Gavin Bell (SF)

Wilbert Buchanan (DUP)

Alan Day (TUV)

Mark Glasgow (UUP)

Kerri Hughes (SDLP)

Cathal Mallaghan (SF)

John McNamee (SF)

Grace Neville (DUP)

Trevor Wilson (UUP)

Moyola (5 seats)

Aidan Bradley (All)

Catherine Elattar (SF)

Anne Forde (DUP)

Denise Johnston (SDLP)

Derek McKinney (UUP)

Donal McPeake (SF)

Ian Milne (SF

Hugh Scullion (Workers Party)


Carntogher (5 seats)

James Armour (Ind)

Kyle Black (DUP)

Cora Groogan (SF

Paul Henry (SF)

Martin Kearney (SDLP)

Brian McGuigan (SF)

Sean McPeake (SF)

Christopher Reid (UUP)

Pádraigin Ui Raifeartaigh (Aontú)

Torrent (6 seats)

Robert Colvin (UUP)

Niamh Doris (SF)

Mickey Gillespie (SF)

Dan Kerr (Ind)

Ian McCrea (DUP)

Ronan McGinley (SF)

Joe O’Neill (SF)

Malachy Quinn (SDLP)

Party share 2014

SF 41.0 per cent

DUP 17.6 per cent

UUP 17.4 per cent

SDLP 13.8 per cent

Ind 4.9 per cent

TUV 4.3 per cent

Other 1.0 per cent

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe from just £1 to get full access

Local Election 2019

Today's horoscope


See a different horoscope: