McLaughlin to stand in South Antrim

It’s the old switcheroo… Sinn Fein should break the news tonight that Mitchel McLaughlin, Sinn Fein’s general secretary (stand by for more detail), is to stand for South Antrim rather than his heartland constituency in Foyle. There is no telling just what effects it is likely to have on the local constituency, where in November 2003 there was a three way fight to the finish between Sinn Fein’s Martin Meehan, Alliance leader David Ford, and the SDLP’s Thomas Burns. After a stormy meeting, it is understood the SDLP will be running two this time out. Stephen Elliott, a pro Grammar school campaigner is said to be running on a McCartney ticket, and could dent DUP plans to run three candidates: there may be some tensions between the Antrim and Newtownabbey ends of the constituency there. Only Sinn Fein and Alliance have single candidates. McLaughlin must be favorite to galvinise a vote that North Belfast Meehan could not. You might imagine his single candidate status should give Ford the edge over the SDLP.

A bold, masterly move at the end of what has been a turbulent week for Sinn Fein. And just before Christmas.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Looks like the Martin Meehan MLA stationery will have to be dumped after all.

  • George

    Could this have anything to do with clearing the ground for grooming another candidate for Foyle in the next Westminster election considering it looks like McLaughlin is a busted flush in that regard when it comes to taking on Durkan?

  • Risky move on the part of the Shinners. McLaughlin is hardly a shoo-in.
    He got egg on his face in Foyle last time out at the Westminster elections, despite the prophecies of toppling Durkan. The same could happen again. SHould be interesting.

  • Mick Fealty

    “The same could happen again”.

    Different scale, different opponent.

  • middle-class taig

    I should have thought he’d be supremely confident; supremely confident!

  • URQUHART

    No doubt about it – this is a cunning stunt. Although the SDLP story may not be over yet – I’m sure their election committee can still remove a candidate or impose another.

    But no doubt about it, it’s a cunning stunt.

    Another exclusive for Slugger?

  • Bizarre altogether. McLaughlin may get a considerable vote due to his relatively high profile (although he has been strangely quiet since his humiliation in Foyle last year), or of course he may be rejected altogether on account of the lack of him having any link with the constituency. This really is the piece de resistance of Sinn Féin parachuting- we already have McGuinness in MU, Ruane in SD, Doherty in WT and now the draft-dodger in SA.

    The only thing I can think that McLaughlin has in common with South Antrim is the propensity for early celebration- we had Martin Meehan’s hilarious ‘victory speech’ in November 2003, and of course there was the big SF celebration that was booked in Derry last year to celebrate their Westminster ‘victory’ only for it to be cancelled when it became clear the election had been won decisively by Durkan 🙂

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    El Mat,

    it could only be the Stoops who view a decreasing share of the vote compared to a 6.6% increase in their opponents vote as a humilation for that opponent.

    As for parachuting don’t blame SF for doing it better than the Stoops. Who was it that parachuted all the way from Upper Bann to West Tyrone? Who was it that humiliated herself trying to carry off canvassing in a Tyrone jersey ans paasing herself off as a local? Who was it that was faced with the task of defending the Stoop’s very own Stalingrad (courtesy Alex Attwood)? Why it was the Stoops very own Brid Rodgers. No El Mat you don’t do irony at all do you?

  • the other one

    very interesting obviously Logue’s poor performance at council level has been noted at Connelly House.

    The SDLP will concerned givenj their internal problems.

    The DUP’s field is growing larger with Paul Girvan apparently at risk of being deselected.

  • Pat-

    a) the ‘humiliation’ was against the backdrop of SF practically claiming their seat at Westminster- we all rememeber the bombast.

    b) I never suggested that parachuting is confined to SF- they just seem to do it more often.

  • Chris Donnelly

    El Mat

    Your post is a clear indication of how unnerved the SDLP will be by this development.

    I note you omit the infamous parachuting of Brid Rodgers into West Tyrone, whilst reference to successful moves like McGuinness in Mid Ulster will hardly make the grassroots feel less uneasy.

    No, this is a brilliant move by Sinn Fein which I expect will see the party hurtling passed the SDLP in this constituency, particularly as the latter remain deeply split between the warring McClelland and Burns factions.

    Coupled with the fleeing of Patricia Lewsley from Lagan Valley, this indicates the SDLP may be in real trouble in retaining their marginal seats.

    One note of interest: in 2003, Ford ran a scare campaign aimed at wooing unionist transfers to keep out Sinn Fein. With the likelihood of a fragmentation in the unionist vote through McCartneyite candidates, this tactic may not be as effective this time around: in any case, it is probable that Ford will be vying with the sole surviving SDLP candidate for the 6th seat.

    Personally, my money’d be on McClelland coming home after McLaughlin. This constituency had just slightly below two nationalist quotas in 2003; demographic changes through the rapidly expanding Glengormley and Crumlin village should ensure two nationalists come through here.

    the other one
    You’ve provided me with a hearty laugh! Anne Marie Logue’s performance on Antrim Council has been exceptional- just ask local journalists about how successful she has been in using their outlets to expose the antics of the unionist majority council in Antrim.

  • the other one

    “You’ve provided me with a hearty laugh! Anne Marie Logue’s performance on Antrim Council has been exceptional- just ask local journalists about how successful she has been in using their outlets to expose the antics of the unionist majority council in Antrim.”

    ask them about her hysterics the last time she tried a notice of motion

    its well known her colleagues see her as a liability

  • Mick Fealty

    Chris,

    I also suspect that Mitchel will be more useful to the Alliance than Anne Marie would have been. There are some who think this move was not necessary for Sinn Fein to have taken S Antrim.

    Indeed, I think the intriguing thing could be the situation it leaves in Derry, with the possibility of Martina Anderson taking an Assembly seat beside Raymond McCartney. Derry begins to look a little bit like a propagation zone for new Sinn Fein?

  • Chris Donnelly

    ask them about her hysterics the last time she tried a notice of motion

    its well known her colleagues see her as a liability
    TOT

    Ahh, that would make you either a council official, local journo or Unionist councillor. I know which one I’m leaning towards…

    I must confess to not having a clue what you’re on about, but I know the technical ins and outs regarding protocols of a council meeting are not what make a competent and effective councillor.

    The very fact you chose to pick on Anne Marie above the other two councillors- in spite of the fact she has been an elected member for just over 18 months- indicates how even you are conscious of how effective a political operator Anne Marie has been.

    You also suggest she is viewed as a liability by her colleagues: now, given that she has only two colleagues, both of whom I am quite familiar with, could you kindly elaborate upon which one regards her as a liability? Henry or Anthony?

    I thought not, because you’re clearly making it up, choosing to hide behind a nom de plume to make allegations which you know you will not be held accountable for. Another troll exposed.

    Mick
    You may be right about Alliance benefiting from unionist transfers, though I don’t think Sinn Fein will be at all concerned about that. As I’ve already mentioned, the demographics of this constituency should ensure two nationalist seats are taken- certainly one for McLaughlin, given his high profile and strong support amongst the swinging nationalist voter- hence the collective gasp from SDLP supporters when his name was announced as the party candidate tonight.

    The SDLP, even with a split candidate strategy, should transfer uniformly enough to outpoll Alliance, who may lose out in terms of preferences in the critical transfer race to the multiple list of likely unionist candidates.

    Should Ford lose out, we’ll be back on here discussing the merits of the remaining Aliance MLAs in the party leadership contest next March….

  • Chris Donnelly

    Indeed, I think the intriguing thing could be the situation it leaves in Derry, with the possibility of Martina Anderson taking an Assembly seat beside Raymond McCartney. Derry begins to look a little bit like a propagation zone for new Sinn Fein?

    Mick
    Given that both Martina and Raymond are long-time republicans, I don’t get the gist of what you’re saying.

    Tactically speaking, Martina and Raymond are both excellent political representatives, readily identifiable names in Derry.

    As of course is Mitchel. The difference, of course, is that Mitchel is a household name throughout Ireland, and certainly one well known to nationalists in the north. It has long been said that Mitchel McLaughlin has been particularly effective at articulating the republican cause to the ‘softer’ nationalist voter- his selection in South Antrim should therefore be seen for what it is: an excellent tactical move by the party.

  • Percival

    The McCartney-ite candidate is running on what platform exactly? – save academic selection by opposing the setting up of a devolved administration, which might actually have the power to do something about the issue: if he polls more than Norman Boyd’s 900 or so, I will be very surprised.

  • Brutus

    Anyone know or care to offer an opion on why the Sinn Fein leadership has removed Martin Meehan?

  • Percival

    Brutus

    I dubt he’s anti the leadership. Although if he was, it would demonstrate that Sinn Fein is in real diffs.

  • carnmoney

    Brutus

    I thought the people of South Antrim removed him first. I know he said he had won, but the result was disputed by the electoral officer.

  • Mick Fealty

    Chris,

    There is a compact and fairly solid Republican base in Derry where it is possible for the party to safely promote relatively new blood without the risk it might have to endure elsewhere.

    Neither have been elected MLAs before, although Raymond has a strong profile courtesy of his co-option after Mary Nelis stepped down a year into her term.

    MLAs get listened to in Westminster Palace and in Leinster House in a way that locally popular councillors don’t. That represents a significant promotion.

    Given the dispersed character of the Republican electorate in south Antrim (Randalstown, Mayfield, and Crumlin for instance) Mitchel is a good catch all for precisely the tactical reasons you suggest.

    But his move from Derry will propagate ‘new names’ on the Northern Ireland-wide political scene. And it seems likely to work, in a way that the Newry and Armagh shuffle just doesn’t.

  • rj

    Chris D

    Are you sure of the demographics? Ark shows

    SDLP SF Total
    2005w 12 12 24
    2005lg14 11 25
    2003a 14 11 25
    2001w 12 9 21
    2001lg14 9 23

    Four percent short of two Nationalist quotas in 2003, no apparent growth since then, rivalry or worse between McClelland and Burns leading to poor transfers within the SDLP. I don’t think there are two safe seats here yet. When do the new boundaries come in and do they make a difference?

  • The Devil

    Mitchel McHitlerlookalike getting parachuted into South Antrim in the hope that the highest profile loser that Sinn Fix have, just might scrape home in a sectarian head count in the ever Romanized constituency.
    The Quisling House instructed blogging committee will no doubt be on the hymn sheet as to the intelligent political reasoning behind it and how it is the natural order of political evolution within an emerging dynamic community based party.
    The reality of the situation however is the reverse of the image, McLoughlin is not only a loser within Sinn Fix but has become an embarrassment because he is a repeated loser.
    When McLoughlin got lost and couldn’t find the SDLP office in Derry in order to enroll in the party he went into the Sinn Fix office to ask directions as to the actual whereabouts of the SDLP headquarters, so amazed were the Sinn Fix office workers with the fact that they had the opportunity to enlist the services of someone who could speak several sentences at a time without the use of “um, ah, aye, oi, sound, waa,” and “ya fuccin dickhead” that they locked the doors and kept him there until he broke and signed up, so it was nearly three minutes later that McLoughlin was able to catch a bus home.

    Adams was so impressed with the latest acquisition that he was forced fed via the electronic media into our homes at every conceivable opportunity, this was to be the face and sound of “New” Sinn Fix a sexier greener version of the SDLP and now with the likes of McLoughlin with no army brief giving the party respectability, a few meddling priests from Clonard monastery giving the party direction, and a few under achieving graduates from the “polly” being given positions directing the parties thought police against life long members everything looked rosy in the garden for Gerry DeRossa and Martin MacGiolla.
    The only three rules that DeRossa and MacGiolla had for the little Adolf look-alike were he was not allowed to wear a uniform, not because it would infuriate members who had seen active service with the IRA, but because with McLoughlins looks it could have a detrimental effect on the Jewish vote.
    That the only people who could be gassed would be Newry MLA’s and that DeRossa was to be addressed as “Gerry the one true god and savior of the universe” and not “Mine Fuhrer”

    However time has moved on and Mitchel “loser” McLoughlin has not lived up to earlier promise, no matter how much money Sinn Fix pumped into his campaign and no matter how many hundreds of election workers were thrown into the Foyle constituency in vain attempts to deprive the SDLP of their jewel in the crown the only thing the returning officer returned was humiliating defeat after humiliating defeat, it was obvious that “the loser” was unelectable in any scenario where people had a choice other than Hobson’s.
    Unfortunately Gerry DeRossa had allowed himself to become inextricably linked with the “Foyle Failure” that his de-selection would be regarded as a personal failure and a stain that just may stick on the “Teflon President”, that was a scenario that had to be avoided at all costs.
    The only answer lay in South Antrim were the huge recent influx of Catholics from West Belfast into the Crumlin, Antrim, and Glenavy area in search of cheaper housing and because these new voters are mainly young couples they are much more likely to be Sinn Fix voters, therefore the opportunity arose for Sinn Fix to get an extra MLA in South Antrim while replacing a failure in Foyle with a more creditable opponent to Mark Durkan and quite possibly a “Jewel Thief”

  • jc

    notice how fealty shows his chuckie slip by calling all the shinners by their first names, like mates – bit of a giveaway – would he call paisley, ian or durkan, mark? i think not

  • Brutus, Martin Meehan isn’t well. The Shinners tell me he’s just out of hospital after major surgery. His wife, Breige, is a good councillor by all accounts, but not MLA material.

  • Forgot to mention, any truth in the rumour the DUP’s Paul Girvan isn’t in good health. Heard it might be serious?

  • Mick Fealty

    jc,

    In reality, I’ve met both Paisley and Durkan one to one, so I’ve no problem in using first names with them personally. Press conferences aside, I have never actually met Adams, either formally or informally, so I have no idea how it would go.

    Now read the thread from top to bottom again.

    Generally, when I kick off any thread I use the formal form of a person’s name. I don’t normally call Paisley Ian. To begin with at the top, it is usually Ian Paisley: then informally ‘The Doc’. Gerry Adams, becomes Adams, then sometimes Gerry.

    But it’s a blog, a conversation. The substance is what matters, not necessarily the form of address.

  • Crataegus

    David Ford did well to get 9.1% last time round and Alliance look steady at about 8-9%. However if we look at the Westminster election SF were on 11.6% and SDLP 12.4% both up. These votes are unlikely to weaken and this time may be marginally up.

    SF did not need to move McLaughlin into this constituency. The gap between Alliance and SF last Assembly election out was 2.4% but all signs are that SF would have done slightly better even without McLaughlin and Alliance will find it difficult to make up the increasing difference with transfers.

    Last Assembly election the two SDLP candidates came in almost level at 7.1 & 7.3% I would imagine that McLaughlin standing is likely to hurt the SDLP and if SF’s vote is markedly up may rob Nationalists of a second seat, but I just don’t see him making a big dent in the SDLP vote. Burns has a good vote among the old rural Nationalist community and I just don’t see that type voting for SF in droves. What McLaughlin may actually do is make the two SDLP camps cooperate on vote and transfer management. It’s a difficult one to call I say SF gain, Alliance loss and which SDLP candidate comes top is anyone’s guess. Burns is better placed being in Antrim rather than Newtownabbey council, but gender isn’t on his side.

  • jc

    i didn’t ask whether you’d ever met paisley or durkan, fealty, but if you’d ever refer to them in your blogging as ‘ian’ or ‘mark’, using their first names as you routinely do with your chuckie mates – since you didn’t answer that question but instead addressed one i didn’t ask, a trick you’ve picked up from those same mates no doubt, i assume the answer is no.

  • scipio

    JC – you need to take off the paranoid blinkers mate – Given the openness that Mick’s site has shown to debate with Unionists, Nationalists or neither able to debate fairly and freely – afterall even your snide comments are allowed as it is free, if ill-informed, comment. I have seen the posters on this site claim it has a pro-union bias and on the same day a republican bias.

    Bottom line is if you seriously want to engage in the old sectarian games such as ‘How does he pronounce ‘H” then you clearly are unable to cope with reasoned discussions and for that I pity you. Still please feel free to read and contribute – you might learn something and if not at least the rest of us will have an entertaining time reading your paranoid musings

    btw when I first typed this I typed Unionist with a capital ‘U’ and nationalist with a small ‘n’ – I wonder does this mean I have an inbuilt pro Union bias or am just a lousy typist hmmmmmmm…..

  • kensei

    “i didn’t ask whether you’d ever met paisley or durkan, fealty, but if you’d ever refer to them in your blogging as ‘ian’ or ‘mark’, using their first names as you routinely do with your chuckie mates – since you didn’t answer that question but instead addressed one i didn’t ask, a trick you’ve picked up from those same mates no doubt, i assume the answer is no.”

    “Generally, when I kick off any thread I use the formal form of a person’s name. I don’t normally call Paisley Ian. To begin with at the top, it is usually Ian Paisley: then informally ‘The Doc’. Gerry Adams, becomes Adams, then sometimes Gerry.”

    Unfortunately, the rules of this site say I’m not allowed to point out you’re an idiot. Assume it’s implied.

  • the other one

    “Ahh, that would make you either a council official, local journo or Unionist councillor. I know which one I’m leaning towards…”

    And you would probably be right but then as someone who has so much time and effort invested in Logue you have some knowledge of Antrim.
    You must be very disappointed Chris that the local team wasn’t up to it.

  • sean

    “This really is the piece de resistance of Sinn Féin parachuting- we already have McGuinness in MU, Ruane in SD, Doherty in WT and now the draft-dodger in SA.”

    THe SF Parachute Regiment? Just a thought!

  • THEBIGMAN

    I UNDERSTAND THAT THE UKUP MAN IN SOUTH ANTRIM MAY
    BE FATHER TED FROM BALLYCLARE HE WILL EAT THE

    DUP FOR BREAKFAST ONE OF THE DUP MLAS IN SOUTH
    ANTRIM DID NOT EVEN KNOW THE CONTENTS OF THEIR OWN
    MANIFESTO BUT I SUSPECT HE KNOWS HOW TO LODGE HIS CHEQUE IN THE BANK

  • middle-class taig

    Calling McLaughlin a loser for failing to wrest the SDLP’s citadel from them (and in the jaws of the PR disaster for SF surrounding the McCartney murder) really demonstrates how weak the SDLP perceive themselves to be. They should have treated the Shinners in Derry as an annoyance, rather than a real threat. The fact that they didn’t and don’t has been picked up by the electorate, and has seen McLaughlin double the SF vote-share in the time he’s been at the head of the ticket. If Mitchel’s a loser, can I be a loser too?

    Brave move on South Antrim. Demonstrates the non-careerism of the Shinners, a la Maskey in South Belfast. Movement before self. Chapeau, Mitchel.

  • borden

    I’m afraid middle class taig that McLaughlin did lose Foyle three times. OK, so the first two are forgivable but what about last year?? He was calling it the Monday before the elction -in fact so were all the PSF stooges. I think we are all losing sight of another key point though. Namely, now that Mitch is gone form Foyle how on earth do the PSFers gain an extra seat with a ticket of Raymond, Martina Anderson and Lynn Fleming? Looks as if they’ve given up in Derry and given the stoops the chance to keep 3 from 4.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Looks like Anderson is being groomed to lead the Foyle contest against Durkan.

  • soccermombriege

    Who was it that humiliated herself trying to carry off canvassing in a Tyrone jersey ans paasing herself off as a local?

    yes and carrying a soccer ball. LOL

  • endofdebate

    “Mitchel McHitlerlookalike”

    Saved me reading the rest of that tripe.
    Don’t you know when ‘Hitler’ is introduced to the discourse, you’ve lost the debate. No one is listening/reading.

  • parachutewillie

    all parties move candidates about – parachute them into areas they are likely to upset the order.
    singing hymns in your parachute- next title for Willie’s cd?

  • wac

    Crataegus

    – What McLaughlin may actually do is make the two SDLP camps cooperate on vote and transfer management.

    Have you ever met any of the South Antrim SDLP? They are two separate warring parties. McClelland and Burns haven’t spoken since 1998, when Burns snatched the nomination and McClelland had to be added to the ticket. Last time out there was a very poor transfer between them when McClelland was eliminated. It’s unlikely that Burns and Mrs McClelland will get on any better. They may have avoided blood on the floor at the convention by picking both, but there will be blood on the streets if they still run both. Burns statement in the Belfast Telegraph about running two to win two seats just looks like utter nonsense and exposes his stupidity. They said the same in 2003, when they got just a quota and won one seat.

  • Frustrated Democrat

    What will happen if te Tories decide to run a candidate in S. Antrim?

    They will not win but may help decide the outcome if they take Alliance and UUP votes in the 1st round.

  • Mick Fealty

    A 70% transfer rate is poor, but not something that could not be improved upon…

  • MCT-

    “Brave move on South Antrim. Demonstrates the non-careerism of the Shinners, a la Maskey in South Belfast. Movement before self.”

    Ahhhh, so that’s how they will spin it? Whatever happened to the idea of SF being a strong community-based party whose strength comes from the grassroots in each respective area? You may see it as ‘non-careerism’ (as if SF MLAs have any choice about what direction their ‘career’ goes in), whereas others may see it as a cynical attempt to win seats without investing the time to develop local candidates from within the communities who will vote in said elections.

  • Gum

    Who will stand for SF then in Foyle? Any chance of a big name standing? Durkan is definately there to be beaten, but they’ll need someone more dynamic than Mitchel comes across as.

  • J_K

    Fair amount of sour grapes from the SDLP posters about this move.

    This is a brilliant move no doubt about it.

    Don’t look at it from some petty point sciring exercise but at the strategic approach of it.

    Sinn F̩in have come close in South Antrim a couple of times. The structure is growing and there are a couple of strong councillors, particularly Cllr Logue Рa full time nurse to boot Рadd a very senior and experienced candidate and it will accelerate the growth of the local structures for the future.

    At the same time create the space in Foyle for new candidates to come through – I think the numbers look like there are two seats there for SF probably for Raymond McCartney and the very impressive Martina Anderson although Lynn Flemming has a strong presense in the Waterside and aprofile from her year as Mayor coupled with the deep friction in the SDLP in Derry between the Durkan and Ramsey camps aswell as unionist voters returning back to their political home and anything could happen.

  • borden

    Pretty unlikely scenario. A few points here .Firstly, I have to laugh at the Durkan is there to be beaten melarkey. really? Now you’d have thought the propagandists provos have shot their bolt with that one. Durkan beat PSF in 2005 and as far as I know even when the stoops vote got as low as possible in 2003 he still topped the poll comfortably. The line up of the SDLp will be interesting – money on a Durkan, Bradley, Ramsey and MAyor Quigley. That will counter act the movements of PSF and the laughibly ‘impressive’ Anderson -let me know now how well has she done in recent elections -any profile?? Fleming already ran in 1998 and was easily beaten. Remember also, none of the PSF vote will attract new/ wavering voters. It is a very hardline ticket -maybe to collect the hardline vote before clasping the hands of the PSNI. Also, any Shinners out there in Derry – please have a look at how utterly transfer repellant they are. The Stoops will be laughing in Derry -what a penalty kick!! Ha ha

  • Tkmaxx

    McLaughlin is a busted flush in Derry – the move is based on maximising voters in South Antrim – one cant blame SF for that.On the other hand it may possibly signal one of two things in Derry – SF now accept that Durkan is permanent or that their Mid Ulster residency is in difficultly if they move on policing -so they need to prepare the ground for a Martin switch to Derry at the next Westminster election. I would put my money on the latter. If SF are about anything its a long game and Mitchel is a foot soldier who is quite electorally expendable – if need be for the sake of the generals.

  • borden

    So let me get this one right -they’re moving MArtin back into Foyle ( two defeats already and a signal for many, many more tactical votes to Durkan) and putting Mitchel or someone elst to go to Mid-Ulster via South Antrim. How in the name of Jehosophat did you come up with that one TK maxx?? I’ll give you one thing though -Durkan is sitting pretty in Foyle for at least one more Westminster elction.

  • Tkmaxx

    Borden
    I never said Mitchel was enroute to anywhere but where SF say he is going – his city days are over- 2/3 years of MM as DFM could improve is chances in Derry considerably -I am making a comment on a possible medium term strategy by SF – it makes sense – if you think about it. Alot of SF woes are emanating from Mid Ulster. They could not afford with an in situ DFM. Unlike you sir/madam – track record proves that that nothing is impossible in NI.

  • Looks like Anderson is being groomed to lead the Foyle contest against Durkan.

    It does look like that although I have heard rumours that Martin might be a possibility.

    A good move by South Antrim Sinn Féin on the selection of Mitchel.

  • Sean Og

    “A good move by South Antrim Sinn Féin on the selection of Mitchel.”
    So it was the South Antrim boys that selected Mitchel! You’re having a laugh. You really are losing credibity Chris if that’s what you’re saying.
    Having said that, Mitchel will win in S Antrim in my opinion. At the expense of Forde. An excellent decison (who ever made it). That man Ford is hard to listen to with his patronising style. SDLP split may leave them without a seat but I expect them to take the 6th. With the growth of Crumlin & Glenavy there should be two national/Republican quotas.

  • So it was the South Antrim boys that selected Mitchel!

    Yes

    It was quite obviously a decision of the leadership to move Mitchel to South Antrim but it was South Antrim members who selected him.

    That is the way the constitution of Sinn Féin works!

  • brendan,belfast

    i know that all parties have ‘parachuted’ from time to time and thats the game, but it is funny now to go over some of Mitchell’s quotes around the time that the Stoops put Brid Rodgers into West Tyrone. On a radio interview with Alex Attwood he argued that ‘parties who parachute candidates into other constituencies are parties who have failed’ i am paraphrasing of course but from memory i am not far off the mark.

    maybe some brighter spark than me can dig out the quotes / transcripts.

  • the other one

    “The structure is growing and there are a couple of strong councillors, particularly Cllr Logue – a full time nurse to boot ”

    you cannot be serious

  • Eoin

    Must admit that this is a very good move here! Will be interesting to see what happens in the future for Foyle!?

    Anyone know who has been chosen for North Antrim and East Antrim for the Shinners?

  • borden

    A good move. Smacks of electoral desperation to me. The Shinners smell something thats going to cost them a seat or plenty of votes in South Antrim/Derry. The Ad Hocery of it all – and Chris it would be great to see Martin back in Derry. People have missed his rep. skills so much. Actually, sorry, he wasn’t elected by the good people of Foyle since a toothless Assembly election in 1982. I bet Big Mark is jumping for joy at the thought. Still can’t wait to see the Provo dream team in Foyle. (Chuckle)

  • Brendan-

    I believe Mitchel’s exact words were: “Brid Rodgers will need a map and a driver to take her into that constituency.”

    I hope Mitchel has invested in a map and driver himself to find his way into South Antrim. Oh how things change 🙂

  • borden

    El Mat,

    couldn’t agree more. And I’m still smiling at the thought of another Martin (2003) moment in 2007 if there is an election. My, the provos are so cocky – just parachute in an eternally failed candidate into a constituency and sure all the local yokel nationalists willvote for him! PSF might be in for a couple of shocks come March time. Stil waiting on a PSF answer to the fact that they’ve really given up on Derry. They must be still hurting from snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in May’05.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    El Mat,

    a bit petty and jealous at a tactic that the SDLP first used all the way back with Bernie Mc Aliskey. Your gripe seems to be that when SF do it they do it successfully whereas the SDLP just continue to fail. One would have thought you would have got used to it by now.

  • Pat-

    No, I’m merely pointing out the hypocrisy of McLaughlin.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    El Mat,

    you admit the tactis have been employed by the SDLP, all be it not very successfully. Me thinks you protest too loudly. Another SDLP seat in trouble to follow Lewsley and Farren

  • borden

    Pat,

    now that you’ve put your Spin Fein on it. Could you please inform me of the evidence that the stoops will lose seats in lagan Vally and north Antrim. Could you also give me your opinion about the shambles of PSF in Foyle, Newry and Armagh and the probable loss of a seat in South Down.
    A. Borden

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    The SDLP position in LV has already been discussed on another thread, go to there for information. Suffice to say I believe the SDLP will be eliminated before SF in that constituency.

    In N Antim the SDLP vote is in decline. Using the Westminister vote (only as a marker) the DUP has well over 4 times the SDLP vote, the SF vote is safe and the UUP will live off the scraps of the DUP for their seat. Therfore the SDLP seat is in danger from unionists.

    SF in Foyle have chosen a excellent team with (I believe) Martina Anderson being groomed to challenge Durkan. With SF gradually on the increase and likwise the SDLP in decline. what is the problem?

    N&A SF will hold their 3 seats, no problem at all. The Murphy and O Rawe parts of the constituency will already be sown up, in fact I predict Murphy to have a lot of votes to spread around to the two others. The Newry based candidate will be delivered by the Newry based party machine, while an independent candidate (if proposed) may attract siome votes they will on elimination return to their natural home, simple really.

    The idea of SF losing a seat in S Down is merely a figment of your imagination. No one of any worth has predicted such a scenario, why have you invented one?

  • borden

    Pat,

    all of your opinions are based, naturally, on all the cards falling for PSF. That will not likely happen, because if an election is held there will be plenty more variables to be thrown into each scenario. I do have to mention the Foyle situation. How on earth do you come to the conclusion that PSF have an excellent team? McCartney is as limited an MLA as possible and with all guns ablazing he still couldn’t get elected in 2003 and had to rely, conveniently, on the stalwart MAry Nelis to stand down ( still no rational reason for that one). Lynn Fleming distinguised herself to no one but Republicans in Derry and if you knew it Pat, if the stoops pick Diver or Conway in the Waterside then they might be closer to 4 quotas. Martina Anderson, don’t make me laugh. She needs to be less glamorous and shore up the hard line Republicans rather than the pathetic provo attempt at outreach to the Unionist community in the Maiden City.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    #all of your opinions are based, naturally, on all the cards falling for PSF. That will not likely happen, because if an election is held there will be plenty more variables to be thrown into each scenario.’

    I have listed my variables, you have failed to do so, especially on the ludicrous claims re Sth Down.
    As for Foyle would in not just have been simpler to say I don’t like SF in Derry, saved a lot of time and effort.

  • borden

    No Pat, sorry. The variables you have listed are PSF variables, not anything else. I have no great problem with PSF in Foyle, and like yourself may have the old blinkers on when it comes to Elections in Northern Ireland. But even a PSF sympathiser like you can see that the Shinners have given up the ghost in Derry for the foreseeable future.

    With regards to South Down, I’ll not use the Westminster elections as McGrady was running, but even in their worst electoral year in a generation the stoops were very close to picking a 3rd seat in South Down. Local PSF have had internal difficulties there and I believe tey will not hold onto their 2nd seat. Mind you, this in no doubt will be helped by the possibility of a lot of tactical/ non voting of the UUP now without Nesbitt.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    ‘the Shinners have given up the ghost in Derry for the foreseeable future.’

    Swt against the trend of recent elections this is plainly a risiculous assertion.

    In the last 2 elections SF in Sth Down have managed 26% in that constituency. 28/29 % will guarantee 2 seats without the need to depend on transfers.
    The last two council by elections, at opposite ends of the northern 6 counties have seen SF advances at the expense of the SDLP. However hard evidence is less appealing than what you ‘believe’ or have ‘heard’.

  • Frustrated Democrat

    In North Antrim Sean Farren is replaced by Declan O’Loan (husband of NI police ombudsman/woman) who is not too popular and did badly last time out.

    SDLP could be on dodgy grounds if SF, Alliance or Tories (if they run a candidate) poll well.

  • Intelligence Insider

    Mary Nelis, that name rings a bell, how long is it since her husband left the UDR? You know, that ultra protestant paramilitary group that all the nationalists like to abuse.

    As for Draft Dodger McLaughlin, it’s clear he is making way for supertout marty.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Frustrated Democrat

    The SDLP in North Antrim are clearly worried about the effects of Farren’s departure. With a vote already on the decline, the party has went for a two-candidate strategy, even though it can take one seat at best.

    The candidates are at least geographically balanced, though O’Loan’s selection- whilst expected- will not worry republicans.

    Declan O’Loan is the doyen of post-nationalism, once writing in one of our locals that nationalists should actually refrain from ‘mentioning’ a united Ireland because it would only alienate unionists!

    The other candidate is a local councillor from the Moyle end, where Sinn Fein have established a signicant lead over the SDLP in recent times.

  • qubol

    as someone from Ballymena whilst true that Declan O’Loan has a relatively high profile – his representation for nationalists in the town is nothing short of appalling (mind you better than than whats on offer from his fellow SDLP councillor McAvoy). In Nationalist areas such as Dunclug the SDLP have let the people down and we never see them except for photocalls or at elections – this will tell especially as nationalist feeling is on the increase after all whats happened in the last year. You would have to say that in this climate O’Loans views as stated by Chris above won’t find much favour in North Antrim.

  • Greg

    Why on earth are some posters on here trying to set up Martina Anderson as a future Westminster candidate? LMAO!!!

    The woman spoke at an event at Queen’s and had to read her speech, word for word, off a page. I wouldn’t vote for her to be my binman!

  • Eoin

    The other sdlp candidate for North Antrim is Orla Black who has already established herself as a challenge to the Shinners! She may well change the outlook for the stoops for the better in North Antrim and be seen as more down to earth than Cllr O Loan!

  • Mark

    Do you think Orla’s 400 votes in from the Glens ward, where SF taske 47% of the vote, will make a difference? Can’t see a small vote taker from Moyle council, the smallest, having any profile or impact.

  • borden

    So those who vote for the PSF last time around will 100%vote for them again in N Antrim. And what about the internal dissension there. I have no doubt that one stoop will get elected and that may be Ms Black. The Dup vote will not be as strong as Paisleys personal vote in 2005, and the St. Andrews effect will make a bigger difference in a PRSTV election than a first past the post one.

    Pat, PSFs vote in Derry has stalled they have risen by 2%in the past 5 years in the council elections but to say that the stoops has fallen in these elctions is wrong. Look more closely at the people who were standing for election

  • Glen Taisie

    The big question in North Antrim is will Sinn Fein risk running sitting MLA Philip McGuigan.

    The tabloids are holding fire on the story of his abduction by “internal security” in Summer 2006.Should he stand expect to see more.

    If he is deselected who do they parachute Ruane,Mary Lou possibly “Flash” MCVeigh

  • Crataegus

    Despite all the triumphalism and spin I’m not convinced that this election will see large gains for either SF or the DUP. There are people who simple won’t vote for, or transfer to, either and both have internal divisions, which though they may not count for much in terms of votes, do stop the onward progress. In fact both parties in their current form could well be at, or approaching, their high water mark.

    The big storey in this election may not be a seat or two going one way or the other between the SDLP and SF or the DUP and UUP, but the virtual extermination of the Alliance Party and the end of any representation of the middle ground. Last time out Alliance were very lucky to hold 6 seats on 3.7% of the vote. Ford in South Antrim is behind both SF and SDLP and will need massive Unionist transfers to stay in. Lagan Valley looks weak post Close. Strangford is a knife edge which may favour the SDLP this time out. East Belfast could see 6 Unionists (if their egos allow them to manage their vote(hopefully it won’t)). North Down they have a capable candidate who is not a vote winner and they will be shredded between the Greens, Conservatives and UUP. Of their seats East Antrim seems safest.

    Alliance vote is slowly creeping down in most places which makes holding seats that much more difficult and gains, like South Belfast all the more improbable. Let us imagine that they hold say 2 seats they will be down to the level of the Woman’s Coalition and much will depend on who exactly holds those two seats for they will become the public image of Alliance. In addition with fewer elected salaries and expenses the job of keeping the party together and covering issues will become increasingly problematic. Doesn’t look good in the short or medium term.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    ‘but to say that the stoops has fallen in these elctions is wrong’

    Between Westminster 2001 and Westminster 2005 the SDLP vote fell 4% and the SF vote rose 6%. It is unfortunate that those basic facts don’t seem to register with you. A continuation of that trend has serious implicatons for the Durkan seat

  • Chris Donnelly

    Glen Taisie

    God loves a trier, and you certainly have enjoyed peddling this one for the past six months.

    For what it’s worth, I know nothing of the story- beyond your posts and one tabloid’s story on the matter some months back- but, really, do you think peddling such spin is going to hurt McGuigan and/ or Sinn Fein?

    Philip is an extremely popular elected representative in north Antrim, taking the nationalist vote in that constituency to new levels since coming onto the political scene.

    In fact, Sinn Fein in North Antrim are well served by excellent, articulate and highly popular spokespersons in Daithi McKay, Philip and Oliver McMullan, all of which would soundly wallop (electorally speaking) the two SDLP candidates put forward this week.

    Craetegus
    You make a number of interesting observations. I agree that Alliance are in trouble, though not to the extent of facing imminent extinction from the Assembly.

    Strangford should fall to the SDLP (I make it their only gain in this election), whilst South Antrim should go to Sinn Fein, but Alliance are still strong enough to hold their seats in Lagan Valley, East Belfast and North Antrim, whilst East Antrim should be carried by nationalist transfers.

    South Belfast is intriguing- due to their expectedly transfer-friendly candidate- and should come down to the last count.

  • borden

    Pat,

    for the Provisionals their vote is stalling in absolute and percentage terms: their high of the euros in 2004 has slipped by 2/3% and in absolute terms seem to be stalling around the 170,000 mark. Mind you how many of these are actually votes is another matter!! Anywho, you are correct that the SDLP vote is stalling at 17/18% but it has stabilised under the Adams and McGuinnes bandwagon. The wheels will fall off though and am looking forward to some egg on provo faces come March. Just how many true republicans will take another PSF u-turn. for many the policing issue may be one too many. What do you think?

  • borden

    Chris,

    I live in the North Antrim area and believe you me not everything is rosy for PSF. I don’t know how true the rumours are about McGuigan as intimated by Glen Taisie but there’s a lot of dissension in the ranks. Many members of my own family will never vote for the PSF again if they sign up to the peelers and are waiting to hear any word about ‘independent’ republicans standing.

  • Chris Donnelly

    borden

    Forgive me if I somehow fail to take your assertions seriously. It’s very easy to allege that there is a lot of ‘dissension’ in the ranks, particularly if you are writing anonymously and clearly from a hostile perspective.

    Let’s examine the substance of your comments.

    “Mind you how many of these are actually votes is another matter!!”

    Are you suggesting otherwise? Even Alex Attwood- who is largely believed to be one of those primarily responsible for the mess that is the Electoral registration system at present- has publicly stated that, in his opinion, the most recent set of election results was the ‘cleanest’ ever.

    Furthermore, you continue by implying members of your own family are Sinn Fein supporters (are they ghosts or are their votes ‘actual votes?’) and are likely to join the ranks of the dissident minority if Sinn Fein endorse policing.

    That’s quite a family tree you’ve got there, ‘Borden.’

    I’d suggest you’re but another troll at work on this site, coming out just in time for the election run in.

    In any case, Nollaig shona daoibh to you and yours.

  • Crataegus

    Chris

    With regards South Belfast what will be interesting is where Monica’s vote goes and my guess is that it would favour SDLP before Alliance. I am not so sure that there is a big Chinese vote that will come out in mass to vote Alliance. If Alliance go up at all SF will loss a seat. Regarding N Down they limped in last time with a sitting MLA. This time it is Stephen Farry, very capable, but he is no vote getter. The question again is where do the Women’s Coalition votes go and I think they would favour Greens as much as Alliance. Also the SF and SDLP transfers are more likely to go to Greens than Alliance. There should be 2 non unionist seats in N Down but if Sylvia stands and with Bob it’s going to be a crowded field and I think that will hurt an electorally weak Alliance candidate. With Alderdice it would have been a safe seat.

    East Antrim is probably safe, Lagan Valley without Close could well be a Unionist gain. Like East Belfast much depends on poor vote management in other parties. If Alliance drop to 7-8 percent in Lagan Valley they could be in trouble. In East Belfast and Lagan Valley you would need to have a good feel for the dynamics in Unionism, which I don’t have, but on a vote that is progressively diminishing if I were in Alliance I would be deeply concerned.

  • Eoin

    Chris fyi Orla Black and Oliver Mc Mullan were both voted in on the first count in the Glens ward. Philip and Daithi may be good public representatives but Oliver!? Sure he didnt even have Republican ideals until he realised that being an Independent candidate would get him nowhere in politics and he had to go looking for a party to use him!
    The problem with the shinners is that the stoops are getting their act together now and are running more interesting candidates!

  • Frustrated Democrat

    Watch what happens to Philip McGuigan in North Antrim…he may not be as secure up there as many seem to think …cross the SF leadership at your peril!

  • Shamrock

    Saw a letter from O Mc Mullan in Irish News today signed as East Antrim SF rep – who is for the North Antrim seat then if Mc Guigan is not as secure – Frustrated Democrat?!

  • Glen Taisie

    Shamrock

    who is for the North Antrim seat then if Mc Guigan is not as secure – Frustrated Democrat?!

    Good question, essentially it boils down to whether the party feels they can handle the bad press which will inevetiably follow.

    It was relatively easy to stay silent during the summer but the exposure of an election campaign will demand answers. And the doubters like myself well “we haven’t gone away you know”

  • Frustrated Democrat

    Shamrock

    Wait for another parachute, which of course the incumbent was originally.

  • BeardyBoy

    I have been talking to local SF people Chris and I can tell you that they are not happy – they may even resign en masse if policing goes through.

    This is Glens people talking to fellow Glens people – not PR spin.

    Time to dump the cops.

  • Shamrock

    Frustrated Democrat

    So noone who is already in SF in N Antrim is good enough then?

    Interesting to see who could be parachuted in then – what other SF candidate cant get elected on their own patch then?

    Any hints or ideas anyone? Maybe Martin Meehan will come to the North of Antrim then?

  • Frustrated Democrat

    Shamrock

    Keep your eye on some of the SF female groupies!

  • Dall man

    Don’t normally vote for the SDLP, but will definitely make the effort for Orla Black an excellent young councillor.

    I am probably noy the only one

  • Shamrock

    Frustrated Democrat

    Local SF female groupies? Or a parachute candidate? Very few local candidates suitable so if it is going to be local that narrows it way down – there is only one I could think of good enough!?

    Hope they dont put Catroina Ruane to North Antrim – couldnt stand listening to her!!! lol

  • Nevin

    “Oliver McMullan, all of which would soundly wallop (electorally speaking”

    Chris, is this a subtle reference to Ollie’s invitation to a council official to step outside for a bout of fisticuffs? IIRC Ollie was only permitted on council premises in the company of the CEO until the hiatus had been resolved.

  • Addict
  • borden

    Go Orla Go!!
    Orla Black MLA – has a nice sound to it. Certainly, TBH will not be easy but there’ll be a lot of us backing you to beat the PSF in North Antrim.