North Belfast: a safe DUP hold?

Chris Thornton looks at North Belfast, which with a rapidly rising Catholic population has the look of a future upset on it. But, he argues, boundary changes are likely to put it out of nationalist reach, and this sometime Unionist marginal looks set to become a DUP safe seat for the foreseable future.

  • jimmyquickswipe

    “And boundary changes for the next election will bring the giant loyalist estate of Rathcoole into the constituency, cancelling out the nationalist rise at a stroke. “

    eh, Rathcoole already is in North Belfast.

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    Didn’t it shift back to East Antrim again some years back?

  • George

    Beano,
    From Ark on the Boundary changes:

    “Belfast North constituency to include the Newtownabbey LGD wards of Collinbridge, Glebe and Glengormley, at present in the South Antrim constituency, and Cloughfern, at present in the East Antrim constituency;

    Does it make sense? Broadly yes. Specifically no. The weird division of the Shankill Road between North and West Belfast remains, and the new boundary weaves through the streets of Glengormley. Better to have left Cloughfern in East Antrim and extended North Belfast a bit farther northwest.

    Demographic shift: The new North Belfast is 0.1% more Catholic than the current constituency.
    The new South Antrim is 3.0% more Protestant than the current constituency.
    Westminster consequences: In North Belfast this slightly accelerates Nationalist growth, slightly diminishes DUP dominance. In South Antrim the DUP are strengthened, probably enough to make a difference.

    Assembly consequences: In North Belfast, DUP will slip slightly to UUP, but are so far ahead that it hardly matters.

    In South Antrim, second Nationalist quota is a little further away, so SF starting from a lower base next time (but probably would still take SDLP seat).”

  • Black Nicky

    Why does the Tele still bother with the prefix Belfast? Its coverage of all things Belfawst is truly, horrendously dire. Take the coyness in this canter through the UUP’s problem’s in North Belfast – apparently (we’re told, and no more) there were “divisions”! What is wrong with patsies like Thornton? Our famed libel laws really don’t stop anyone, other than the tamest, pulled-by-the-ring-through-their-nose hacks, from dissenting from the approved NIO line: the “divisions” in the North Belfast Ulster Unionist Constituency Association can be rendered in just 3 words. The. McGimpsey. Clan. And gosh, what’s just wrecked South Belfast UUP? No, you don’t say.

  • idunnomeself

    The McGimpseys have wrecked North Belfast too?

    As well as Strangford and South Belfast?

    Goodness they get about..

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    Sorry Nicky you lost me.

    I think Rathcoole has been in North Belfast before for one of the elections, although I could be wrong.

    Interesting the Tele thinks that it’ll make the seat a safer unionist one while ark says the demographic shift is +0.1% catholic. Lazy journalism?

  • jimmyquickswipe

    Yeh, I think between the 4 or 5 of us we could have thrown together a better article in half an hour.

  • williederry

    Chris Thornton needs to get out more, Rathcoole is already part of North Belfast and has been for some years now.
    As for it being a giant, it has been in decline for some time now with many of its inhabitants seeking a better life in carrick etc.