A handful of NI constituencies are heading towards tight and keenly fought races. Tonight sees Slugger O’Toole’s first ever election debate, with candidates Naomi Long and Gavin Robinson getting the opportunity to answer questions, explain their distinctive policies and visions for the Belfast East constituency.
There’s clearly a strong local interest in the East Belfast election. Last night’s five-candidate hustings in Willowfield Parish Church (organised by Evangelical Alliance/CARE) was attended by around 250 people and ran slightly over two hours. Topics discussed ranged from economics to health to faith to Syrian refugees to the role of Westminster versus Stormont.
Advertised online, free tickets for our own event were quickly snapped up in three or four hours. In response we switched to a much larger room, doubling the audience capacity, and most of those who registered on the waiting list that remained open for two weeks have been accommodated.
If you weren’t able to get a ticket, you still can follow the event this evening using the #EBdebate hashtag, and we plan to publish video and audio of the event on Slugger later this evening to allow everyone to hear from the candidates.
There are of course six candidates running for election in Belfast East and they’d all love your vote. [Ed – if you live in the constituency, and if you’re on the electoral register!] In alphabetical order:
- Ross Brown (Green Party)
- Naomi Long (Alliance)
- Mary Muldoon (SDLP)
- Niall Ó Donnghaile (Sinn Féin)
- Gavin Robinson (DUP)
- Neil Wilson (Conservatives)
We’re keeping Slugger’s calendar up to date with election events and updating a list of hustings in a post.