General Election

Constituency profile: Sinn Féin's Mickey Brady in line to top Newry and Armagh poll for third time

The border near Newry. The constituency voted 62.9 per cent in favour of remaining in the EU

THERE is potentially some colourful, alliterative introduction to be written about Newry and Armagh - something about the border, Brexit and Brady.

But it is best for everyone if we cut to the chase - Mickey Brady will almost certainly win.

No-one has got close to Sinn Féin since it won the seat from the SDLP in 2005.

The party has won the last four general elections at a canter.

In 2017 Mr Brady received more than 12,000 more votes than anyone else and there is nothing to suggest things will change significantly this time.

The other parties appear to accept this quietly. While they all have candidates, none would be considered a `big name'.

This border constituency takes in the Armagh part of Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon District Council and the western part of Newry, Mourne and Down.

The prospect of Brexit continues to feature prominently as a question on doorsteps. In Newry and Armagh, 63 per cent voted to remain.

The return of a harder border is concerning as it would impact on trade and business.

Farming subsidies from Europe have also benefited this area financially. In some rural areas, family farms straddle the border.

Mr Brady has pointed out that Brexit was firmly rejected.

"There is no such thing as a good Brexit for Ireland, deal or no deal," he said.

"The solutions to Brexit will not come from Westminster."

There is no Justin McNulty this time for the SDLP who, despite his high profile, was a distant third in 2017.

The party has put forward Pete Byrne, a councillor for Slieve Gullion. On a Fundrazr page to support his campaign, he claims to be the "strongest pro-European and anti-Brexit voice".

It may be hard to believe now, but the first MP returned to Westminster when the constituency was created in 1983 was Jim Nicholson of the UUP.

His Armagh councillor son, Sam, is running again, having tasted disappointment both in 2017 and in the 2016 assembly election.

The UUP was some distance behind the DUP's William Irwin in 2017, who is back for another crack.

Alliance's candidate for the second general election in a row is primary school teacher Jackie Coade.

She has said rural healthcare, education and transport are among the most important issues and describes herself as a "progressive, pro-Remain candidate who passionately believes our best interests are in staying in the EU".

Armagh native Martin Kelly is a new name, standing for Aontú.

His party said he became politically engaged "after witnessing the radical and distressing pro-choice stance taken by other political parties both north and south of the border, whom he feels betrayed many of the electorate".

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CANDIDATES

Mickey Brady (SF)

Pete Byrne (SDLP)

Jackie Coade (ALL)

William Irwin (DUP)

Martin Kelly (Aontú)

Sam Nicholson (UUP)

2017 SHARE OF VOTE

SF - 47.9%

DUP - 24.6%

SDLP - 16.9%

UUP - 8.3%

ALL - 2.3%

Electorate: 78,266

Majority: 12,489

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General Election