Seat by seat the Northern Ireland Assembly election-

Seat by seat the Northern Ireland Assembly election-

With just over a week to go until the Northern Irish Assembly Election [2022] commences, The chips are down, the heat is on and the pressure is truly immense!

With Sinn Féin [SF] making significant gains within the 2017 Assembly Election, The polls since October 2020 have SF as the largest party.

As we are all aware [Needless to mention], anything can happen in an Election (Specifically within Northern Ireland).

I will be doing separate predictions within this topic. I will be listing the four I fancy strongly and I also will be listing the candidates who will likely be fighting for the 5th and final seat.

I will be starting off from W -> B as I wish to keep the Four Belfast Areas until the end of the topic.

West Tyrone :

West Tyrone is generally a nationalist stronghold and I have no reason(s) to believe that a similar outcome will not occur this time around.

SF could likely field four candidates within West Tyrone and return all Four.

Four Candidates that will be Elected [No Particular Order] : Thomas Buchanan (DUP), Declan McAleer (SF), Maoliosa McHugh (SF) & Nicola Brogan (SF)

Fifth Seat : Ian Marshall (UUP) is a much higher prolific candidate than the UUPs’ 2017 candidate (Alicia Clarke) and he will surely destroy the 4,000 first preference vote count barrier. Although Daniel McCrossan was the fourth elected in 2017, I believe he will get the fifth seat this time with a reduced vote share.

Upper Bann :

Upper Bann is quite divided but slightly more unionist. Diane Dodds (DUP) will simply destroy this field and will be elected to Stormont on the first count.

Four Candidates that will be Elected [No Particular Order] : Diane Dodds (DUP), Jonathan Buckley (DUP), John O’Dowd (SF) & Doug Beattie (UUP)

Fifth Seat : Dolores Kelly (SDLP) is quite similar to Marmite. You either love or hate her. She is definitely one of the most local MLAs and I am predicting Dolores to take the fifth and final seat just ahead of Liam Mackle (SF). It will be interesting to see how Eoin Tennyson (Alliance) gets on.

Strangford :

Four Candidates will be Elected [No Particular Order] : Kellie Armstrong [Alliance], Michelle McIlveen (DUP), Harry Harvey (DUP) & Mike Nesbitt (UUP).

Fifth Seat : I am pushing the boat out within this Constituency and I am going to predict DUP to return to the Assembly with one less MLA. Conor Houston (SDLP) will possibly win the Fifth Seat.

South Down :

Four Candidates that will be Elected [No Particular Order] : Diane Forsythe (DUP), Sinead Ennis (SF), Colin McGrath (SDLP), & Karen McKevitt (SDLP)

Fifth Seat : This is one of the most difficult constituencies to predict but I am going to predict Patrick Brown (Alliance) to defeat the relatively unknown Cathy Mason (SF) to the fifth spot by under 500 votes.

South Antrim :

Four Candidates that will be Elected [No Particular Order] : John Blair (Alliance), Pam Cameron (DUP), Trevor Clarke (DUP) and Declan Kearney (SF)

Fifth Seat : With the DUP only fielding two candidates this year, this will surely be a huge opportunity for the SDLP candidate to narrow the gap. Unfortunately for her sake, Steve Aiken (UUP) will likely take Fifth spot.

North Down :

Four Candidates that will be Elected [No Particular Order] : Andrew Muir [Alliance], Stephen Dunne [DUP], Rachel Woods [Green Party] & Alan Chambers [UUP]

Fifth Seat : With Alex Easton [Former DUP MLA] running as an independent this time, It will be VERY interesting to see how he polls. To be honest, the majority of the citizens within North Down tend to be more liberal and the Greens have held a seat in North Down from 2007. I expect Rachel Woods to be elected with ease as well as Andrew Muir. The North Down citizen also tend to be fairer towards candidates rather than a specific party, therefore Alex Easton will likely generate lots of 2nd and 3rd preference votes. I will predict Alex Easton will return as an MLA to Stormont ahead of Jennifer Gilmour [DUP].

North Antrim :

Four Candidates that will be Elected [No Particular Order] : Mervyn Story [DUP], Paul Frew [DUP], Philip McGuigan [SF] & Robin Swann [UUP]

Fifth Seat : I expect Jim Allister’s’ vote count to decrease and although he might appear to be in slight bother, He should be elected in fifth place ahead of Patricia O’Lynn [Alliance]. Eugene Reid will be an interesting candidate to follow.

Newry & Armagh :

Four Candidates that will be Elected [No Particular Order] : William Irwin [DUP], Justin McNulty [SDLP], Cathal Boylan [SF] & Conor Murphy [SF]

Fifth Seat : Although UUP polled well within the 2017 Election, Their 2022 Candidate [David Taylor] has little to no chance. Liz Kimmins [SF] will win seat number five. In theory, this is practically a no contest Area.

Mid Ulster :

As you can clearly see from the image [above], there are candidates from every party within Northern Ireland contesting the constituency. You could definitely refer to Mid Ulster as a “Dolly Mixture” contest.

Four Candidates that will be Elected [No Particular Order] : Keith Buchanan [DUP], Emma Sheerin [SF], Linda Dillon [SF] & Michelle O’Neill [SF]

Fifth Seat : Meta Graham [UUP] is definitely one of the “Candidates to Watch” as UUP generally poll above average within the Mid Ulster area however, I believe that Patsy McGlone [SDLP] is too high prolific and should definitely return to Stormont as an MLA.

Lagan Valley :

Four Candidates that will be Elected [No Particular Order] : Sorcha Eastwood [Alliance], Jeffrey Donaldson [DUP], Paul Givan [DUP] & Robbie Butler [UUP]

Fifth Seat : This is without doubt of the Alliance’s better constituencies and has been for a couple of decades. Alliance, the SDLP and the UUP generally attract more votes from the so called “Middle Class Citizens”. Sorcha Eastwood [Alliance] could actually top this poll. Pat Catney [SDLP] became the first Nationalist candidate to be elected to Lagan Valley since 2007 when Sinn Féin’s Paul Butler was elected on the 6th count. Pat is potentially the most interesting and exciting candidate in the whole of Northern Ireland. In my opinion, DUP have definitely missed a trick be not entering three candidates in Lagan Valley, there is no doubt that would have returned three MLAs. I am actually going to predict Pat Catney losing his seat to either David Honeyford [Alliance] or Laura Turner [UUP].

Foyle :

Four Candidates that will be Elected [No Particular Order] : Mark H. Durkan [SDLP], Sinead McLaughlin [SDLP], Ciara Ferguson [SF] & Padraig Delaney [SF]

Fifth Seat : I believe that this could be the end for Gary Middleton [DUP] as the constituents simply cannot get enough of Nationalist Candidates. I am expecting a massive success for Shaun Harkin [Foyle] and he is likely to gain the fifth seat ahead of Brian Tierney [SDLP]. Colly McLaughlin [IRSP] obviously will not be elected but he could finish 7th or 8th.
Fermanagh And South Tyrone :

Four Candidates to be Elected [No Particular Order] : Aine Murphy [SF], Colm Gildernew [SF], Jemma Dolan [SF] & Tom Elliott [UUP]

Fifth seat : Tom Elliot is very popular within this constituency and I believe he could top the poll. His colleague Rosemary Barton [UUP] is likely to follow him to Stormont and win the fifth seat ahead of one of the DUP Candidates.East Londonderry :
Four Candidates that will be Elected [No Particular Order] : Alan Robinson [DUP], Maurice Bradley [DUP], Caoimhe Archibald [SF] & Kathleen McGurk [SF]
Fifth Seat : Although Claire Sugden [Ind. Unionist] was elected in both the 2016 and 2017 assembly election, this could be a very difficult election for her. Claire will be up against Cara Hunter [SDLP] but Cara is likely to win the fifth seat. I do not see the purpose of having an independent in Stormont as he / she simply cannot do much. Once again, I do not understand the ideology of the DUP only fielding two Candidates.
East Antrim :
Four candidates to be Elected [No Particular Order] : David Hilditch [DUP], Gordon Lyons [DUP], John Stewart [UUP] & Roy Beggs Jr [UUP]Fifth seat : The final spot is very likely to be contested between Stewart Dickson [Alliance] & Oliver McMullan [SF] but Danny Donnelly [Alliance] is very likely to increase his vote share / count. This constituency has been very kind to Alliance throughout the years and I believe they will be again kind. Stewart Dickson [Alliance] to win seat Five.Belfast West :
Four Candidates to be Elected [No Particular Order] : Aisling Reilly [SF], Danny Baker [SF], Órlaithí Flynn [SF] & Pat Sheehan [SF].
Fifth seat : Belfast West (before 2017) was a stone-cold certainty to have at least one SDLP candidate having won a seat since the beginning of the constituency in 1973. Joe Hendron held the seat for the best part of two decades and Alex Attwood was an MLA for almost 17 years. Paul Doherty has been increasing in popularity and work ethic so he is likely to go very close however, I am expecting Gerry Carroll [People Before Profit] to be re-elected to Stormont as an MLA ahead of Frank McCoubrey [DUP] and Paul Doherty [SDLP] simply because PBP are only fielding one Candidate and Carroll will surely get plenty of transfers from Paul Doherty [SDLP].
Belfast South : 
Four candidates to be Elected [No Particular Order] : Paula Bradshaw [Alliance], Edwin Poots [DUP], Claire Bailey [Green Party] & Deirdre Hargey [SF]
Fifth seat : Belfast South is probably the most diverse and multi-cultural Constituency within the country. With the recent passing of Christopher Stalford [DUP], The electorate will be out in full force to give the sympathy vote to Edwin Poots [DUP]. Belfast South is generally a liberal society hence why Alliance & SDLP usually poll extremely well. Alliance has held a seat since 2007 and that is extremely unlikely to change. However, the fifth seat will probably be contested between Kate Nicholl [Alliance / Current Belfast Lord Mayor] and Matthew O’Toole [SDLP]. Truth be told, this Constituency is simply too difficult to predict this time. If I were force to choose, I would slightly favour Matthew O’Toole [SDLP] but I am expecting a very decent / above average election from Kate Nicholl [Alliance].Belfast North : 
Four Candidates to be Elected [No Particular Order] : Brian Kingston [DUP], Nichola Mallon [SDLP], Carál Ní Chuilín [SF] & Gerry Kelly [SF]
Fifth Seat : Belfast North is a hugely divided Constituency with almost 50% from a Unionist background and 50% from a Nationalist background. The area has been dominated by the DUP and SF for the past 15 years. SDLP also generally poll extremely well in Belfast North. Nuala McAllister [Alliance] has been knocking on the door within the 2016 and 2017 elections but I believe this time the tide will turn and she has done enough to win the fifth and final seat ahead of Phillip Brett [DUP]

Belfast East :

Four Candidates to be Elected [No Particular Order] : Naomi Long [Alliance], David Brooks [DUP], Joanne Bunting [DUP] & Andy Allen [UUP]

Fifth seat : Belfast East simply cannot get enough of the Alliance Party and I doubt that will change in May. The PUP & the Green Party will again over achieve within this Constituency. Karl Bennett [PUP] will lose out to Peter McReynolds [Alliance] for the final seat.

So, which party will have the most MLAs within the executive at Stormont after the May Election!? Well, It is highly likely to be Sinn Féin but at odds of 1/5 [Ladbrokes], I will simply be avoiding that. In all fairness, at 4/1 [DUP] are worth a small stake bet with an advised stake of £5-£20.

NAP : Claire Bailey [Belfast South]

NB : Nuala McAllister [Belfast North]

I hope you liked the insight and I hope you enjoy the assembly election, Many Thanks.


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