Constituency profile: Mid Ulster

23 February 2017

In the run-up to the 2017 Assembly election we are taking a detailed look at the 18 constituencies around Northern Ireland. Today we focus on Mid Ulster.

Mid Ulster

Mid Ulster has had the exact same composition of MLAs in every election since 1998, with Sinn Féin consistently winning 3 seats and the UUP, DUP and SDLP each taking one apiece. That will change this year, as the reduction to five seats brings the long-standing balance to an end. The 11 candidates standing in Mid Ulster on 2 March are listed below.


Buchanan, Keith


Dillon, Linda

Sinn Féin

Loughrin, Hannah


McCloy, Hugh


McGlone, Patsy


Milne, Ian

Sinn Féin

O'Neill, Michelle

Sinn Féin

Overend, Sandra


Scullion, Hugh

Workers Party

Taylor, Stefan

Green Party

Watson, Fay



At a glance

  • Sinn Féin, the SDLP and the UUP are all fronted by their outgoing MLAs, with no changes from last year.

  • The DUP is running incumbent MLA Keith Buchanan, without naming a partner, thus one-time MLA Ian McCrea misses out as a result.

  • UKIP is not challenging in Mid Ulster this year, whilst the Alliance Party has selected a fresh candidate. There is also a new independent on the ballot paper in the form of Hugh McCloy, who previously ran in the 2014 local government election but failed to secure a seat.

  • The TUV, Greens and Workers Party have all selected the same candidates as in 2016.



Sinn Féin is confident of returning at least two candidates in a largely nationalist constituency but it will be keen to manage its vote more efficiently than in 2016, when Ian Milne far outpolled his running mates. Northern party leader Michelle O’Neill will hope to perform well, seeking endorsement of her recent promotion to the post and the prospect of her becoming deputy First Minister in a new Executive. The SDLP’s candidate, Patsy McGlone, should also feel optimistic that he will continue as an MLA for an area he has represented for 14 years.

The fifth seat is one to watch, and transfers will be crucial. Last time out, the DUP ran two candidates; incumbent Keith Buchanan is now the party’s sole nominee. The UUP’s Sandra Overend was not far from reaching the quota after the first count in 2016, and will be hoping for a swing from DUP to UUP, but with the DUP only fielding one candidate, we could be in for a nail-biting finish. Will there be room for two unionist MLAs?