#MU13 “Mid-Ulster is a constituency with more than its fair share of problems.”

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Nice piece by Peter Geoghegan, who’s been doing some digging in Mid Ulster, and what a functional political argument might have raised for the voters:

The Irish housing boom was not confined to the southern side of the border, and the collapse in construction has hit Mid-Ulster hard. Between 2007 and 2008, joblessness in the area increased by 45 per cent. Dungannon and Cookstown have recorded the highest levels of emigration in Northern Ireland, according to figures released by the Department of Finance.

In fact the SDLP’s candidate (the clear loser in the sham fight between McGuinness’s successor, and de fact political retiree Francie Molloy and a unity unionist candidate, no one knows or has heard of) Patsy McGlone has tried to make a fight of it, though it seems no one in the media is listening.

In a presser, which as far as we can tell was not taken up by any major media outlet [nor did we, before you start getting too cocky - Ed], he laid out some interesting comparisons between the amount of government investment money coming into the dFM’s as opposed to the FM’s constituency.

It’s far from flattering to the popular big Sinn Fein man from Derry:

“But the local Executive has failed to oversee the kind of investment needed to secure a sustainable economic recovery for Mid Ulster. Mid Ulster has been neglected by having the DUP and Sinn Féin in control of Executive spending.

“From 2007 to 2012 Invest NI offered £17.71 million assistance to a total planned investment of £165 million, to create an expected 1,690 jobs. During the same time, in East Belfast, Invest NI offered £58.81 million assistance to a total planned investment of £750 million, to create an expected 2,914 jobs.

In fact that’s a little unfair since Invest NI money is likely to pander to the appetite of private or multinational firms they invest in. Mid Ulster is at the very least far removed from larger scale operations in Belfast.

A much fairer comparison would be between east and west Belfast. That’s a great deal worse. That £750 million for east stacks up against a very slender £50 million for west Belfast.

As Peter notes, there is no incentive for either Lutton or Molloy to upset the real applecart, which of course is control of the joint Office of First and deputy First Minister:

The occasional sharp-tongued quarrel aside, neither paramour is willing to upset their union by proposing a radical shake-up of the affairs of state.

Never mind the quality feel the width of my parliamentary majority, as Francie’s election brochure, cramped back with local MLAs and Councillors and delivered at Masses across the constituency last Sunday will tell you… And barely a word about what he or his party colleague’s plan to do about the economic hardship in Mid Ulster…

Election day death threat for the former MP anyone?

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  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “The irony of a political campaign that has largely ignored core political issues – jobs, the economy, and health – is that Mid-Ulster is a constituency with more than its fair share of problems.” .. PG

    A h/t to PG: it’s the constitutional question. How ironic that the ed-in-chief of a political magazine who commissions ‘cutting edge research and commentary on all aspects of research in politics’, a man with a PhD in “Sectarianism and Multiculturalism in post-Agreement Northern Ireland”, is unable to read the Northern Ireland political landscape.

  • Mick Fealty

    Erm, see the part where he quotes Mike Nesbitt?

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    I did.

    “Patsy McGlone has tried to make a fight of it, though it seems no one in the media is listening.”

    The News Letter carried a webchat. At one point he criticises the decision taken by an SDLP councillor on the Sammy Brush debacle but appreciates the difficulty in which the councillor found himself.

    Patsy, like most MLAs, continues to cherry-pick the 1998 Agreement; he can only see two strands.

  • Mick Fealty

    Nev,

    Be careful mate. That’s the second time you’ve misremembered details from that story. Some folk are very litigious.

  • FuturePhysicist

    Mid Ulster has the lowest number of benefits claimants per capita on the West of the Bann, and beats a few East of the Bann constituencies as well. I’m not surprised by the emigration figures, the segment is really the center of out of town engineering companies, which produce high skilled workers (republican, nationalist and unionist) who without a functioning construction sector in the area are better off out of it. I would also wager it has the highest graduate unemployment rate in the North of Ireland and you may include the Donegal constituencies in that if you want.

    Design engineers and the Quaternary or knowledge sector does form a vital hub for the area as does agriculture provide some form of fucking stability.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Fucking stability ?

  • Coll Ciotach

    Wee wheels on the side so you don’t fall off?

  • FuturePhysicist

    Damn I thought you’d get banned for swearing, I’ll have to try something libelous next time Comrade.

  • Coll Ciotach

    I thought the SDLP did rather well and Sinn Fein has suffered due to the abortion issue.

    Have a look again – SDLP up in both per cent and actual votes in a declining poll. Can’t argue with that.

    Alliance managed to get a coule of houses more to vote for them and show how derisory their support is outside unionist areas where nationalist vote against more extreme varieties of unionism.

    Sinn Fein down, and they cannot explain it away as Molloy not having the pull of McGuinness, he was facing a unionist land grab and I would expect the votes to rally behind him.

    Unionism for all its crowing have just showed that the real border is closer to the Bann than the Foyle.

    In my mind the only party that has reason to smile is the SDLP. And given the context that they are still miles behind their rivals in Sinn Fein it is not much to smile about.