Constituency profile: East Londonderry

20 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 East Londonderry.

East Londonderry

The DUP has been the dominant party since 2007, when it overtook the UUP to grab three of six seats. The party has, since then, continued to return three MLAs at each election, with the SDLP and Sinn Féin each holding a spot. The remaining seat had been held previously by David McClarty, who was originally elected under an Ulster Unionist banner in 2007 and then later as an independent. Upon his death in 2014, Claire Sugden was co-opted as the constituency’s sixth MLA. She won re-election in 2016. All eyes will be on Sugden to see if she can repeat the feat this time round. The fifteen candidates standing in East Londonderry on 2 March are listed below. 

Archibald, Caoimhe

Sinn Féin

Armstrong, Jordan


Bradley, Maurice


Campbell, Gavin


Dallat, John


Flynn, Anthony

Green Party

Harding, David


McCandless, William


McCaw, Chris


McQuillan, Adrian


Mullen, Gerry


Ó hOisín, Cathal

Sinn Féin

Robinson, George


Sugden, Claire


Watton, Russell



At a glance

  • The SDLP’s outgoing MLA Gerry Mullen lost a selection contest for his party’s nomination and is now standing as an independent. John Dallat, an MLA from 1998 to 2016, will, once again, seek to hold the seat for the party.

  • Hoping to double its representation, Sinn Féin is running Cathal Ó hOisín alongside Caoimhe Archibald. Ó hOisín lost out at the eighth count last year, having served at Stormont during the 2011-2016 mandate The DUP, meanwhile, has decided to run its three outgoing MLAs. Claire Sugden, the current Justice Minister, is also standing.

  • The UUP will only field one nominee, William McCandless, having selected two candidates in 2016. Independent candidate Victor Christie and UKIP’s Steven Parkhill, both of whom contested May’s election, are absent from the ballot paper.

  • The PUP, NI Conservatives and TUV are all running the same candidates as in 2016; the Greens and Alliance feature new names. People Before Profit is standing the constituency for the first time.


The DUP will be confident of at least two seats here, Maurice Bradley and George Robinson looking the safest of their three contestants. With Caoimhe Archibald holding the advantage of incumbency, Sinn Féin is hopeful of taking at least one seat. The outstanding places are much harder to call.

The UUP’s decision to run a single candidate may be a positive move for the party, especially if there is a broader shift within unionism, away from the DUP. Particular attention will be paid to DUP vote management and the direction of TUV and PUP transfers. Claire Sugden, the UUP and DUP are all in with a chance of taking fourth position. The final seat might have been sealed for the SDLP if Gerry Mullan not decided to run against John Dallat. This split in the SDLP vote, however, means that it must contend with Sinn Féin here.