Northern Ireland constituency profile: Fermanagh and South Tyrone

Although there are six candidates in the field, this election is set to be another two-horse race to be first past the post.

Outgoing MP Michelle Gildernew decided not to defend her seat having announced she was contesting the European election in the Republic.

She stood in the Midlands North-West constituency but failed to pick up the fifth and final seat.[1]

In a surprise move [2]Sinn Fein revealed former nursing union leader Pat Cullen as their candidate.

As general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing she has had a high profile during recent nationwide public sector strikes.

It could be a shrewd move, as the health service is a hot topic on the doorsteps.

The collapse of emergency general surgery[3] at the South West Acute Hospital, the closure of rural GP surgeries and lengthy waiting lists top many voters' concerns.

Five years ago, Tom Elliott was the agreed unionist candidate, endorsed by the DUP before he had even been officially selected by his own party.

This time the UUP are fielding Diana Armstrong, a Fermanagh and Omagh district councillor.

Her father Harry West was a former unionist MP and leader of the UUP between 1974 and 1979.

She is the only unionist on the ballot paper, after the DUP and TUV decided not to contest the seat, but she is not an "agreed candidate".

Diana Armstrong says she is offering a positive message of unionism, insisting the UUP has consistently opposed the Northern Ireland protocol, the post-Brexit trade agreement which introduced some new checks on goods moving between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Former councillor Paul Blake is standing for the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), while Eddie Roofe, who won Alliance's first council seat in Enniskillen, will be hoping to increase his party's support west of the Bann.

Gerry Cullen is representing Cross-Community Labour Alternative and Aontu are fielding Carl Duffy.


  1. ^ failed to pick up the fifth and final seat. (
  2. ^ a surprise move (
  3. ^ emergency general surgery (