Constituency profile: Foyle

28 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 latest profile is for Foyle.


Foyle has been remarkably consistent since 1998. The SDLP held three seats and Sinn Féin occupied two, while the DUP served as the constituency’s sole voice of unionism at Stormont. That changed in May when People Before Profit managed to grab a spot from the SDLP. With the number of seats on offer being reduced from six to five, that balance will change once again in 2017. The 12 candidates standing in Foyle on 2 March are listed below.


Canning, Stuart


Cavanagh, Colm


Downey, Shannon

Green Party

Durkan, Mark H


Eastwood, Colum


Kee, Julia


Lindsay, John


McCallion, Elisha

Sinn Féin

McCann, Eamonn


McCartney, Raymond

Sinn Féin

McGuinness, Arthur


Middleton, Gary




At a glance

  • Sinn Féin is running two candidates instead of three. Elisha McCallion has been selected to replace party veteran Martin McGuinness (who represented Mid-Ulster between 1998 and 2016) after his resignation from politics on health grounds.

  • The SDLP, DUP and People Before Profit will field their outgoing MLAs. For the SDLP this is one less challenger than 2016, when Gerard Driver also stood.

  • The UUP and CISTA are fronted by their 2016 nominees, whilst the Alliance Party, the Green Party and the Conservatives have all put forward new names.

  • Three of last year’s independents, Maurice Devenney, Kathleen Bradley and Anne McCloskey, will not appear on the ballot paper.



In spite of the constituency's composition, 2017 may see diminished nationalist influence here, the challenge coming in the shape of People Before Profit’s Eamonn McCann.

However, with both the SDLP and Sinn Féin sitting on quotas that should see two MLAs returned apiece, it is difficult to see if McCann polls well enough to secure a seat. In an area which registered a 78 per cent remain vote, those parties will no doubt emphasise McCann’s pro-leave stance on Brexit.

The DUP should maintain its seat in this predominantly nationalist heartland, though Gary Middleton must rely on transfers to see him over the line. Current calculations show that he sits on a quota of 0.72.