Constituency profile: Fermanagh and South Tyrone

27 February 2017

In the run-up to the 2017 Assembly elections we are taking a detailed look at the 18 constituencies around Northern Ireland. Our newest profile is for Fermanagh and South Tyrone.

Fermanagh and South Tyrone

Home to the former First Minister Arlene Foster, Fermanagh and South Tyrone is sure to be the subject of many headlines over the next week. In both 2011 and 2016, the constituency returned three unionists: two from the DUP and one UUP MLA. The remaining three seats in 2011 were all occupied by Sinn Féin but in 2016 that share reduced to two seats, thanks to the SDLP’s Richie McPhillips’s emergence. The 12 candidates standing in Fermanagh and South Tyrone on 2 March are listed below.


Barton, Rosemary


Campbell, Noreen


Dolan, Jemma

Sinn Féin

Dunn, Richard


Elliott, Alex


Foster, Arlene


Gildernew, Michelle

Sinn Féin

Jones, Tanya

Green Party

Lynch,  Seán

Sinn Féin

McPhillips, Richie


Morrow, Maurice


Ó Cófaigh, Donal

Labour Alternative



At a glance

  • All six outgoing MLAs are seeking re-election. Alongside Seán Lynch and Michelle Gildernew, Sinn Féin is backing newcomer Jemma Dolan to regain the third spot it lost last time out.

  • DUP leader Arlene Foster is joined on the ballot paper once again by running mate and DUP Chairman, Lord Maurice Morrow.

  • The UUP is fielding just one candidate, incumbent Rosemary Barton, who will be hoping to repeat her electoral victory of 2016, when she took the seat from former party colleague Alastair Patterson.

  • Cross Community Labour Alternative candidate Donal Ó Cófaigh was expelled from the Labour Party in Northern Ireland for standing on a different ticket. Ó Cófaigh is a former Sinn Féin councillor and stood as a nominee for the Socialist Party in the 2011 Assembly election.



Arlene Foster topped the 2016 poll for the whole of Northern Ireland. Although recent events may deplete the DUP leader somewhat, it is unlikely that the impact will be sufficient to render a major upset in this rural constituency. If the DUP does suffer a loss, it is more likely to be sustained by party veteran Lord Maurice Morrow.

Michelle Gildernew’s return to the Assembly last year was all to brief. Her success at the polls is likely to be repeated this week; however, it remains to be seen if she will be joined by any of her Sinn Féin colleagues.

The Opposition party candidates, Richie McPhillips of the SDLP and the UUP’s Rosemary Barton, will do well to hold the seats they secured in May. McPhillips was eventually carried over the line by UUP transfers and, thus, he will hope to emulate, if not improve upon, those numbers this time around. The Alliance Party has yet to make an impression west of the Bann and it is unlikely that this will be the year that it succeeds in Fermanagh and South Tyrone. What is clear is that one of the casualties here will come from the four larger parties.