GE ’24: Fermanagh & South Tyrone Constituency Profile…

brown wooden dock

This was the most marginal Westminster constituency in the UK in 2019, with only 57 votes separating the winner, Michelle Gildernew, from Tom Elliot (UUP). The seat has seesawed back and forth between unionist and nationalist ever since it was created as a single member constituency in 1950. Gildernew first won the seat in 2001, lost it to Elliott in 2015, and regained it again in 2017. Neither of them are standing in this election. The boundary changes were not …

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GE ’24: Foyle Constituency Profile…

3 women and 2 men smiling

This was the safest Westminster constituency in Northern Ireland in 2019, with 17,110 votes separating the winner, Colum Eastwood (SDLP) from the second placed Elisha McCallion (SF). McCallion had won the seat in 2017. Prior to that the SDLP had held the seat at every election since the constituency was created in 1983. The changes made to the constituency boundaries last November were not substantial. Candidates John Boyle, Aontú Sandra Duffy, Sinn Féin Colum Eastwood, SDLP Rachael Ferguson, Alliance Shaun …

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Open sunday – politics free zone…

Street vendor with a suitcase

In addition to our normal open Sunday, we have a politics-free post to give you all a break. So discuss what you like here, but no politics. Brian O'NeillI help to manage Slugger by taking care of the site as well as running our live events. My background is in business, marketing and IT. My politics tend towards middle-of-the-road pragmatism, I am not a member of any political party. Oddly for a member of the Slugger team, I am not …

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Open Sunday – discuss what you like…

open sunday sign, signage, open

The idea for Open Sunday is to let you discuss what you like. Just two rules. Keep it civil and no man/woman playing. Brian O'NeillI help to manage Slugger by taking care of the site as well as running our live events. My background is in business, marketing and IT. My politics tend towards middle-of-the-road pragmatism, I am not a member of any political party. Oddly for a member of the Slugger team, I am not that interested in daily …

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And if the cloud bursts thunder in your ear…

woman in black and white striped long sleeve shirt sitting on chair

I’ve always been mad, I know I’ve been mad. I’ve been mad for f**king years. Well, not my words, but it could explain why I’ve been listening to a particular album for fifty years. Not any old album. But the best ever in my opinion. The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd. A brooding, magnificent psychedelic concept album which first saw the light of day in 1973. Words like psychedelic, concept and progressive probably turn a lot of …

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Winners and losers in the Irish local and European elections

So what are the long term trends in Irish local election results? Much has been written about the Irish local and European election results, but mostly from a very partisan perspective. There is nothing much wrong with that except that it is very prone to wishful thinking: people see what they want to see and emphasize those aspects which favour their preferred party or political perspective. Thus, David Moane delighted in Sinn Féin’s disappointing results and suggested it heralded the …

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Brendan O’Leary – How not to engage in public discourse as scholars…

body of water near buildings under cloudy sky during daytime

Brendan O’Leary is the Lauder Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania Professors Coulter and Shirlow are unnecessarily rude, and conspiratorial. The suggestion that I read from a “script” produced by the organizers among Ireland’s Future is false, and mildly insulting. No one suggested what I should say, and those who know me regard me as my own person. As far as I know no one at the conference was guided let alone instructed on what to say. …

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GE ’24: Mid Ulster Constituency Profile…

green field under blue shy

This was the sixth safest Westminster constituency in Northern Ireland in 2019, with 9,537 votes separating the winner, Francie Malloy (Sinn Féin), from Keith Buchanan (DUP). Malloy had held the seat since a by-election in 2013. Prior to that the seat had only been held by a nationalist for 10 out of the 63 years since it was created in 1950. Malloy is not standing again. The seat covers a rural area to the west of Lough Neagh, including part …

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GE ’24: Newry and Armagh Constituency Profile…

Newry and Armagh delivered a 9,287 majority for Micky Brady (Sinn Féin), with William Irwin (DUP) in second place. The constituency was only created in 1983. For the first three years it had a unionist MP but has been nationalist ever since. The changes made to the constituency boundaries last November were not substantial. Candidates Pete Byrne, SDLP Dáire Hughes, Sinn Féin Sam Nicholson, UUP Keith Ratcliffe, TUV Samantha Rayner, Conservative Liam Reichenberg, Aontú Gareth Wilson, DUP Helena Young, Alliance …

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Is Naomi Long’s weakness, her ‘inability to admit an obvious mistake?’

red letters neon light

Obelisk is a Slugger reader from County Tyrone In launching her party’s manifesto, Alliance leader and East Belfast candidate Naomi Long emphasised that she felt the ‘honeymoon period’ for the return of Stormont has ended. People now want results, less excuses and more competence, which can be considered an awkward contrast given the controversy now dogging the Justice Minister over a recent botched piece of legislation. On June 1st the High Court in Belfast overturned the law in question which …

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Rumblings of discontent over North Belfast parade…

It’s amazing how you manage to block out troublesome memories. The COVID lockdown has been largely consigned to the recycle bin of my mind. Likewise, many moons ago, at this time of year, the pages of Slugger would be wall to wall with posts about parades and bonfires. But in the past few years, calm has descended upon the good God-fearing people of Ulster, and the parade session has passed off largely without incident. Yes, bonfires are an environmental catastrophe …

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GE ’24: North Antrim Constituency Profile…

man standing on rock in the middle of clip

This was the fourth safest Westminster constituency in Northern Ireland in 2019, with 12,721 votes separating the winner, Ian Paisley Jr (DUP) from the second placed Robin Swann (UUP). Paisley took over the seat from his father. It has been in the family for 52 years. It had always been held by a unionist since it was created in 1885. The changes made to the constituency boundaries last November were not substantial Candidates Jim Allister, TUV Helen Maher, SDLP Philip …

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When God closes a door, sometimes the window stays shut.

In London and Belfast two events occurred that at first glance seem only tangentially related but which when taken together seem to set the course for our own future after the election is out of the way. The first, as this report in The Guardian from Eleni Courea makes clear, deals with the poverty of Labour’s ambitions regarding closer trade links with the European Union. As Eleni writes “Labour’s EU policy amounts to “tinkering around the edges of the current …

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The Ireland squad for the tour to South Africa has been named

black elephant walking on brown sand

Six Ulster players included Forwards: Ryan Baird, Finlay Bealham, Tadhg Beirne, Caelan Doris, Tadhg Furlong, Cian Healy, Rob Herring, Cormac Izuchukwu, Oli Jager, Ronan Kelleher, Joe McCarthy, Peter O’Mahony, Tom O’Toole, Andrew Porter, Cian Prendergast, James Ryan, Dan Sheehan, Nick Timoney, Josh van der Flier Backs: Bundee Aki, Caolin Blade, Craig Casey, Jack Crowley, Ciaran Frawley, Robbie Henshaw, Jordan Larmour, James Lowe, Stuart McCloskey, Conor Murray, Calvin Nash, Jimmy O’Brien, Jamie Osborne, Sam Prendergast, Garry Ringrose, Jacob Stockdale   The …

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If you live in West Belfast don’t be expecting the Alliance candidate to be knocking on your door…

I was thinking of getting one of those video doorbell yokes. The main benefit was to screen out one of the minor miseries of the modern world – 21st-century door-to-door salespeople. You are sitting down to your dinner when the doorbell goes, and you are greeted by someone trying to guilt trip you into setting up a direct debit to support some worthy cause. They conveniently leave out the part where they work for commercial companies that take a massive …

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Beyond hospital waiting lists: the need for accountability and reform in our health system…

doctor holding red stethoscope

Ciaran O’Neill is a Professor in the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences at Queen’s University Belfast Where we are: We all know the health system in Northern Ireland is at a critical juncture – our waiting lists for hospital diagnostics and treatment that were the worst in the UK, have deteriorated over time. Between March 2014 and March 2023, waiting lists for an initial outpatient appointment rose by 216%1. Over the same period more than ten times as …

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GE ’24: North Down Constituency Profile…

amusement park surrounded with tall and green trees under blue and gray skies

North Down had the sixth smallest majority in Northern Ireland in 2019, with only 2.968 votes separating the winner, Stephen Farry (Alliance) from Alex Easton (DUP). Previously the constituency had always been held by a unionist since its first creation in 1885. The changes made to the constituency boundaries last November were not substantial. Candidates Chris Carter, Independent Tim Collins, UUP Alex Easton, Independent Unionist Stephen Farry, Alliance Barry McKee, Green Déirdre Vaughan, SDLP The DUP, TUV, Conservatives and Sinn …

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Ireland’s Future – a lot done, more to do…

I attended the Ireland’s Future event at the SSE Arena on Saturday. They have been ticking off all the major venues in Belfast, such as the Waterfront, Ulster Hall, and now the biggest of the lot, the Odyssey. The Odyssey is in some way an appropriate name for the long journey towards reunification. There was some frankly bizarre discussion yesterday in the open thread about the number of people who attended the event. I heard unofficially 5000 tickets were sold, …

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Leo Varadkar says the next Irish government should start actively preparing for unification…

Ben M is a slugger reader from Dublin I’ve long thought conflating the unification issue with SF distorts it. A border poll, and the preparations that precede it will be dominated by a wider range of Irish political, state, and civic entities, of which SF will merely be a part. So when many people talk of unification in terms of SF, I think the question most worth asking isn’t about them, it’s – ‘When will the rest of Ireland decide …

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Open sunday – politics free zone…

Street vendor with a suitcase

In addition to our normal open Sunday, we have a politics-free post to give you all a break. So discuss what you like here, but no politics. Brian O'NeillI help to manage Slugger by taking care of the site as well as running our live events. My background is in business, marketing and IT. My politics tend towards middle-of-the-road pragmatism, I am not a member of any political party. Oddly for a member of the Slugger team, I am not …

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