Election battlegrounds #LE19 : Ormiston

Lying to the far east of Belfast City Ormiston is a 7 seater and in 2014 Alliance were the top dogs here taking 27% of the vote to the DUP’s 26%.

However both parties made big mistakes last time out when they both ran 4 candidates and ended up with just 2 seats apiece.

The Alliance’s third candidate Ross McMullan was eliminated on the tenth count in 2014 when he was just 56 votes behind the Greens’ Ross Brown. Brown went on to take the seventh seat with the DUP’s third runner Denny Vitty unable to catch him on the last count.

Brown became the Green’s sole representative on the council but took everyone by surprise when he resigned in 2016. He now works as a successful DJ abroad. His successor co-opted to take the seat has been making the news recently for a poor attendance at council and will not be standing for election next week. However this will still make it especially difficult for the Greens’ Anthony Flynn who faces an uphill struggle to try and hold this seat. The Greens’ main targets this time in Belfast seem to be in other DEAs such as Botanic and Lisnasharragh.

The number of candidates here has dropped from 19 to a much more slimline 12. The DUP and Alliance are both standing 3 candidates a piece this time and may even elect three each depending on how eliminations and transfers proceed.

Unionist parties here (DUP, UUP, PUP, UKIP, TUV, Conservatives) had 4.96 quotas in 2014. The DUP had 2.1 quotas, the UUP had 1.5 quotas and the PUP 0.4. The TUV and the Conservatives are not running this time.

William Ennis is hoping to build on the decent outing the PUP had here in 2014 and is this DEA’s dark horse. The party’s vote increased in East Belfast at the last Assembly election. He should be polling over the all important half quota and be in the hunt for one of the last two seats.

The Alliance are running sitting councillors Sian O’Neill, Peter McReynolds and Ross McMullan who will be hopeful of taking a third seat for the party this time around.

The DUP are running councillors John Hussey and Tom Haire. They will be joined by Gareth Spratt.

The Ulster Unionists are again putting forward their 2014 team of Jim Rodgers and Peter Johnston. 1,300 votes separated them in 2014 when Rodgers topped the poll. Better balancing this time around may be needed to help them hold onto their second seat.

A recent controversial leaflet on behalf of both UUP candidates took aim at the Alliance Party and was criticised widely and by their party HQ. If this proves damaging to the party locally it could well put one of their seats at risk.

Keith Lonsdale is running for UKIP. The SDLP and Sinn Féin received 95 and 56 votes respectively in 2014. Laura Mistier is running for Sinn Féin and the SDLP has decided not to field anyone.

The safe seats here are 2 Alliance, 2 DUP and 1 UUP. The last two will be between the 3rd DUP and 3rd Alliance candidates, the 2nd UUP and the PUP will be in there too. I don’t think the Greens will be in the hunt here though they should pick up elsewhere in Belfast.