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It’s an Elliott v Gildernew battle again in Fermanagh and South Tyrone

Thursday, 8 June 2017

THINGS will definitely not be predictable in Fermanagh and South Tyrone with outgoing MP., the UUP's Tom Elliott and Sinn Féin's Michelle Gildernew squaring up for yet another battle.

The UUP man will be hoping to retain his 530 vote lead that secured him the seat two years ago. He should feel buoyed by the fact he is not only the only unionist candidate in the race but also the fact that last March's Assembly election saw the combined unionist vote of 22,421 edge Sinn Féin's 22,008 out by 413 votes.

However, as any observer of contests in the constituency knows, every vote matters here. Former Sinn Féin MP and current MLA, Michelle Gildernew, has been made slight favourite by the bookies this time out. This constituency has been so close in recent years that no one will be shocked to hear the word 'recount' bandied around at some stage.

The destination of the SDLP vote will be interesting. They have fielded relative newcomer, current Fermanagh and Omagh District Council chairperson, Mary Garrity, in this election. Her high profile in the chairman's role could see her strengthen her party's hand compared to their 2015 outing of 2,732 votes, but it is unlikely to be enough to prevent the expected head to head between Elliott and Gildernew for this seat.

The other candidates, Noreen Campbell (Alliance) and Tanya Jones (Green Party) will hope to hold their share, but are unlikely to make any significant impact in this contest.

 

Candidates at a glance

 

Fermanagh and South Tyrone

Noreen Campbell, Alliance

Tom Elliott, UUP

Mary Garrity, SDLP

Michelle Gildernew, Sinn Fein,

Tanya Jones, Green Party

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