Boundary Review: Belfast North and Belfast South West…

Okay on with the next one… here’s the two more controversial constitutencies… Ward data here… Demographics here… And this is the more general picture with old and new boundaries

Belfast North (map)

At the review date of 1 December 2010, the electorate of Belfast North was 66,825, which is 9,816 short of the quota. The Commission proposes the transfer of the wards of Glencairn, Highfield and
Shankill from Belfast West giving an electorate of 74,783, which is 2.4% below the quota.

Belfast South West (map):

The electorate of BelfastWest at the review date was 60,520. The proposed transfer of three wards to Belfast North means that transfers from elsewhere are needed to provide a quota. The Commission proposes that the wards of Blackstaff, Musgrave, Finaghy, Upper Malone, Malone, Windsor and Shaftesbury be transferred from the current Belfast South constituency to a new constituency of Belfast SouthWest giving an electorate of 74,269, which is 3.1% below the quota.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

  • In Westminster, Belfast North will stay unionist and Belfast SW will stay Sinn Fein, I rather think. SF’s majority will be considerably reduced, and when it comes to the Assembly elections, I reckon it’ll be down a couple of quotas.

  • Drumlins Rock

    First thing, the names should be Belfast North, Belfast West and Belfast East, the South appendage will only cause confusion and won’t placate Belfast South residents at all, every one knows it is a carve up so keep things simple.
    The Belfast North addition looks like a sensible tidy up, although the division of Newtownabbey remains, the addition of the south Belfast wards might help the West shift its ghetto image and reduce the chances of a SF Royal Flush, which isn’t a good thing on either side.
    The alternatives? A Newtownabbey/Carrickfergus Constituencey, the rest of North & West Merge, with some to an expanded South which also takes in Carryduff. But I can see why they went for this simpler option, looks logical to me, but I’m a country boy so wouldn’t know the local tale.

  • dwatch

    “The Commission proposes the transfer of the wards of Glencairn, Highfield and Shankill from Belfast West. ”

    The Commission has also proposed the transfer of the wards Jordonstown, Monkstown, Knockagh & Greenisland from North Belfast to South Antrim.

  • Mark McGregor


    Jordonstown, Monkstown, Knockagh & Greenisland are East Antrim not North Belfast.

  • Mark McGregor

    I think bringing in the final 3 Court wards to North Belfast is perfectly valid. Gets the quota up and stops splitting the DEA.

    That is if you agree with the starting point of Belfast going down to 3 seats over retaining 4 and expanding out into a realistic Greater Belfast.

    This is central to the Commission position.

    Is it worth arguing the toss on such a basic point?

  • Drumlins Rock

    Mark, although this is jumping the gun, I think the problem with 4 is Bangor and Ards, they are too big to put together but you have to carve quite a bit out of greater east Belfast to get Bangor up to a quota, and a bit out of South to top up Ards. It therefore would be strange to expand Belfast to the North & West while contracting to the East. Maybe one central Belfast seat shuold be considered, and three periferal ones, Bangor, Newtownabbey & Lisburn!

  • Mark McGregor


    I was thinking that as just after this series of blogs finishes the Pub Quiz is due it might be interesting to have some people meet before the Black Box, with the big map to discuss boundaries.

    What do you think?

    I have the big map, I cannot recommend highly enough getting a copy over relying on the online version.

  • Drumlins Rock

    I have drawn up two versions of my own so know the wards quite well, one version is much the same as the proposals I posted previous, tidied up a bit, the other is the mimimun change option, and I have reduced the changes to far, far less than the proposals, but predicted that the outcome would be somewhere between the two options, which is right, but unfortunately they have picked the worse bits of both options!

    Unfortunately I have another meeting on that night before hand so it would have to be another time.

    Back on topic before we are told off for deviating, one of the reccomendation I had made was for the split ward of Derryaghy (I think) to be restored. Don’t see this here, and the chance to tidy up round the Lisburn boundary has not been taken.

  • Mark McGregor

    Derriaghy should be mentioned, the only split ward was never legitimate as it was solely done for sectarian reasons. It should be treated as one again but I’d suggest it all goes to LV as a LCC area. This frees Aghagallon to stay in UB.

    The West would stay within the 5 percent if that half of Derriaghy moved back to LV.

  • Drumlins Rock

    What is fustrating about the whole process is we are working on over 30 year old ward boundaries, they are woefully out of date. I presume these new constituencies will face some changes when RPA come in force, I dearly hope this hatchet job of a carve up is not used to base the councils on as had been rumoured.

  • Mark McGregor


    How could you trust these people with wards? The only time they’ve tinkered with one in years was solely due to strong DUP sectarian lobbying.

    Id prefer if the body dealing with wards hadnt shown willing to split one on a Prod/Taig basis.

  • John Ó Néill

    The overall shape in Belfast could have moved from the wedges dipping into the city centre to a Belfast Central plus outer constituencies. There isn’t much spatial logic in the current set-up.

  • Mark McGregor


    There isn’t a natural Belfast centre area that would have 70K plus voters.

    There are natural N,S,E,W’s though and all have greater catchment areas than their current Westminster limits.

  • Drumlins Rock

    must see if i can draw one up just for the challenge!

  • Mick Fealty

    Belfast developed arterially. Falls, Shankill, Malone, Antrim, Newtownards, Cregagh, Ormeau all contain coherent patterns of settlement.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Yup can’t see a Central area as coherent.

  • Drumlins Rock

    I tried but didnt work, best I could do is two central ones with the Lagan as the boundary, but then you still need three greater Belfast ones, would look messy, I think the logical soloution has been arrived at with only minor tweaks needed. Long term Newtownabbey should be in one Constituency, but which way should it go?

  • Back in the March thread on this, we considered two other options, one with North Belfast starting at the city boundary and extending south into the Falls, and the other pushing it farther into Newtownabbey so that Court DEA went entirely into West Belfast. I actually like the Boundary Commission proposal better than either of those, and haven’t yet spotted any improvements that I would want to suggest.

    When we thought that there would be only 15 seats, someone did send me a map with two Belfast constituencies (the Upper Falls being taken out and merged with Lisburn) but it wasn’t very convincing and I think becomes impossible once you have 16 seats to fit in.

    Mark does raise a good question, which I haven’t really seen anyone try to answer: is it at all possible to extend the existing four seats radially? My instinct is that you end up with Belfast constituencies which would have shorelines on Strangford Lough and Lough Neagh, but I admit I haven’t looked at it.

    But I disagree with Mark on the importance of the integrity of the ward of Derriaghy. In my view, the constituency boundary drawn three years ago is a better reflection of the current pattern of settlement, the facts on the ground as it were, than the ward boundary drawn almost twenty years ago.

  • South Belfast Hack

    Do I have to change my name 🙁

  • Drumlins Rock

    I did suggest alternative names previously, using the rivers, Belfast North becomes Belfast Farset, South East becomes Belfast Conswater and South West becomes Belfast Lagan.