Fermanagh South Tyrone election reaches court

The ongoing row over Michelle Gildernew’s election as Fermanagh / South Tyrone MP is due to reach the courts today. Rodney Connor is claiming there were breaches of the statutory rules and is seeking a scrutiny of the votes, a recount and a determination that Ms Gildernew was not duly elected.

The victorious Sinn Fein candidate insists, however, that she was properly returned last month by the people of Fermanagh and South Tyrone as their MP.

Connor claims to have two witnesses who saw six votes counted which should have been rejected. To the surprise of the Lord Chief Justice who will be hearing the case, the disputed ballot papers have not been found for the courts to scrutinise.

We have of course been here before with Fermanagh / South Tyrone. In 2001 Gildernew won by 53 votes and there was a legal challenge after Garrison polling station was kept open. On that occasion the judges allowed the election result to stand.