West Tyrone

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Map and graph by Conal Kelly

This constituency includes Strabane end of Derry and Strabane District Council and the Omagh end of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council. The MP has been Pat Doherty (SF) since the 2001 election; he defeated William Thompson (UUP) who won the seat when it was created for the 1997 election. SF hold three Assembly seats here, and the DUP, UUP anmd SDLP one each (the UUP and SDLP gained from the DUP and independent MLA Kieran Deeny in 2011; the DUP and SF both gained from the UUP and SDLP in 2007; Deeny had gained his seat from the SDLP in 2003).

2017 Assembly speculation: Given that there are only going to be five rather than six seats in each constituency, the quota (votes needed to be elected) rises from 14.3% to 16.7%. SF are defending three seats with 2.5 quotas; the DUP are defending one seat with 1.3 quotas; and the UUP and SDLP are each defending their seats with 0.7 of a quota. In 2016 there were just over 2.0 quotas of votes for Unionist parties, and 3.2 for Nationalist parties (not counting the 0.5 of a quota for independent candidates). If a Unionist seat is lost, it is more likely to be the UUP's; however Nationalists seem to be more vulnerable in general, though it is not clear which party is at greater risk.

When it was created in 1995, West Tyrone actually included more of the old Mid Ulster constituency than does the new Mid Ulster, and also parts of the old Foyle. No changes were made in 2010.

The 2011 census found that the average age of West Tyrone residents was 36.83 (11th of the 18 constituencies), and the median age 36 (equal 10th). 67.98% of the population were or had been brought up as Catholics (4th of the 18 constituencies), 30.16% were or had been brought up as Protestants (15th), 0.40% were of non-Christian religious background (the least), and 1.47% had no religion (the least).

In the multi-option national identity question, 30.52% said that they had British identity (15th of 18 constituencies), 40.12% said that they had Irish identity (5th), 32.31% Northern Irish (3rd), 1.19% English, Scots or Welsh (15th), and 2.48% something other (11th).

11.55% lived in households of social grade AB (18th of the 18 constituencies), 21.58% in C1 households (17th), 32.42% C2 (4th) and 34.44% DE (3rd).

14.99% claim some ability in the Irish language (4th of 18 constituencies) and 5.7% in Ulster Scots (12th).

West Tyrone has the highest proportion of Hungarian speakers (0.30%) in Northern Ireland.

See spreadsheets from the 2011 Assembly election, the 2010 Westminster election, the 2007 Assembly election, the 2005 Westminster election, the 2003 Assembly election, the 2001 Westminster election, the 1998 Assembly election, the 1997 Westminster election and the 1996 Forum/talks election. See also the detailed guide from 2007 by "Sammy Morse".

Results of recent elections


DUP UUP Oth U Alliance Oth SDLP SF
2016a 22.0% 11.4% 0.1% 1.3% 12.0% 11.0% 42.0%
2015w 17.5% 15.9% 0.4% 2.2% 3.8% 16.7% 43.5%
2014lg 18.7% 14.1% 1.5% 1.9% 4.9% 14.3% 44.7%
2011a 23.1% 10.4%   2.2% 5.7% 8.5% 50.1%
2011lg 19.4% 14.0%   0.8% 10.7% 11.5% 43.5%
2010w 19.8% 14.2%   2.3% 1.4% 14.0% 48.4%
2007a
21.4% 8.9% 0.5%
10.2% 14.5% 44.5%
2005w 17.8% 6.9%

27.4% 9.1% 38.9%
2005lg 19.1% 13.5% 0.1%
6.0% 17.9% 43.4%

2017 Assembly election (five seats)

@Thomas Buchanan (DUP)
Alicia Clarke (UUP)
Charlie Chittick (TUV)
Roger Lomas (Cons)
Stephen Donnelly (Alliance)
Ciaran McClean (Green)
Barry Brown (CISTA)
Corey French (Ind)
Sorcha McAnespy (Ind)
Roisin McMackin (Ind)
Susan-Anne White (Ind)
@Daniel McCrossan (SDLP)
@Michaela Boyle (SF)
@Declan McAleer (SF)
@Barry McElduff (SF)

2016 Assembly election (six seats)

@Thomas Buchanan (DUP) 4,650 (12.0%)
@Barry McElduff (Sinn Féin) 4,568 (11.8%)
@Michaela Boyle (Sinn Féin) 4,460 (11.5%)
@Ross Hussey (UUP) 4,441 (11.4%)
@Daniel McCrossan (SDLP) 4,287 (11.0%)

Allan Bresland (DUP) 3,884 (10.0%)
Grace McDermott (Sinn Féin) 3,711 (9.6%)
@Declan McAleer (Sinn Féin) 3,565 (9.2%)
Josephine Deehan (Independent) 1,778 (4.6%)
Sorcha McAnespy (Independent) 828 (2.1%)
Patsy Kelly (Independent) 661 (1.7%)
Barry Brown (CISTA) 547 (1.4%)
Stephen Donnelly (Alliance) 494 (1.3%)
Ciaran McClean (Green) 458 (1.2%)
Laura McAnea (Animal Welfare) 224 (0.6%)
Corey French (Independent) 124 (0.3%)
Susan-Anne White (Independent) 85 (0.2%)
Roger Lomas (Conservative) 44 (0.1%)

@ member of the Assembly when it was dissolved.
Sinn Féin 16,304 (42.0%, -7.9%) 3 seats
DUP 8,534 (22.0%, -1.1%) 1 seat
UUP 4,441 (11.4%, +1.0%) 1 seat
SDLP 4,287 (11.0%, +2.5%) 1 seat
Independents 3,476 (9.0%)
CISTA 547 (1.4%)
Alliance 494 (1.3%, -0.9%)
Green 458 (1.2%)
Animal Welfare 224 (0.6%)
Conservative 44 (0.1%)

Electorate: 65,694
Votes cast: 39,325 (59.9%); spoilt votes 516 (1.3%)
Valid votes 38,809; quota: 5,545

A seat that has provided surprising results in the past did not do so this time, with all six sitting MLAs re-elected. Sinn Fein's Declan McAleer started 136 votes behind his running-mate Grace McDermott, but transfers from independent candidates and the Greens pulled him ahead and he finished with a lead of 24.92 votes, the narrowest of the election.

2015 Westminster election

*Pat Doherty (SF) 16,807 (43.5%, -4.9%)
Tom Buchanan (DUP) 6,747 (17.5%, -2.3%)
Daniel McCrossan (SDLP) 6,444 (16.7%, +2.7%)
Ross Hussey (UUP) 6,144 (15.9%, +1.7%)
Stephen Donnelly (Alliance) 869 (2.2%, -0.1%)
Ciaran McClean (Green) 780 (2.0%)
Barry Brown (Cannabis Is Safer Than Alcohol) 528 (1.4%)
Claire-Louise Leyland (Conservative) 169 (0.4%)
Susan-Anne White (Ind) 166 (0.4%)
Electorate: 63,856; Total Poll: 39,014 (61.1%); Invalid Votes: 353 (0.9%); Valid Votes: 38,654

A solid defence from Doherty, though here as elsewhere the vote slipped.

If cast in a six-seat Assembly election, these votes would have given SF three seats, and one each to the DUP, SDLP and UUP.

2014 local government election

From the 2011 census, West Tyrone includes:

The entire Fermanagh and Omagh DEA of Mid Tyrone
The entire Fermanagh and Omagh DEA of Omagh
The entire Fermanagh and Omagh DEA of West Tyrone
and
The entire Derry and Strabane DEA of Derg
85% of the Derry and Strabane DEA of Sperrin
5% of the Derry and Strabane DEA of Faughan.

With some adjustment for voter community background, I project the 2014 results as:

SF 16509 (45%)
DUP 6904 (19%)
SDLP 5284 (14%)
UUP 5203 (14%)
Inds 1607 (4%)
Alliance 687 (2%)
TUV 521 (1%)
Green 198 (1%)
UKIP 19 (0.1%)

If cast in a six-seat Assembly election, these votes would have given SF three seats, and one each to the DUP, SDLP and UUP.

2011 Assembly election (six seats)

@Barry McElduff (SF) 6,008 (15.3%)
@Pat Doherty MP (SF) 5,630 (14.3%)
Michaela Boyle (SF) 5,053 (12.9%)
@Thomas Buchanan (DUP) 5,027 (12.8%)
Ross Hussey (UUP) 4,072 (10.4%)
@Allan Bresland (DUP) 4,059 (10.3%)
Joe Byrne (SDLP) 3,353 (8.5%)
Declan McAleer (SF) 3,008 (7.7%)
Paddy McGowan (Independent) 1,145 (2.9%)
Eugene McMenamin (Independent) 1,096 (2.8%)
Eric Bullick (Alliance) 852 (2.2%)

@ member of the Assembly when it was dissolved.
SF 19,699 (50.1%, +7.6%) 3 seats
DUP 9,086 (23.1%, +1.7%) 1 seat (-1)
UUP 4,072 (10.4%, +2.5%) 1 seat (+1)
SDLP 3,353 (8.5%, -6.0%) 1 seat (+1)
Independents 2,241 (5.7%) (-1)
Alliance 852 (2.2%)

Electorate: 62,970
Votes cast: 40,323 (64.0%); spoilt votes 1020 (2.5%)
Valid votes 39,282; quota: 5,615

Two changes here, the only constituency where this was true. The SDLP managed to regain the seat they should never have lost to independent MLA Kieran Deeny in 2007, despite the interventions of two former SDLP members running as independents. And the UUP regained the seat they should not really have lost to the DUP in 2007, one which the DUP had (I understand) written off before the election, but which they still came fairly close to hanging on to, Bresland losing to Hussey by 274 votes on the last count.

2011 local government elections

First preference votes cast in the whole of the Omagh and Strabane council areas were as follows:

SF 17,187 (43.5%)
DUP 7,663 (19.4%)
UUP 5,521 (14.0%)
SDLP 4,548 (11.5%)
IRSP 666 (1.7%)
Alliance 324 (0.8%)
Independents 3,562 (9%)

In a six-seat STV election, this pattern of votes would probably have returned three SF seats, and one each for the DUP, UUP and SDLP.

2010 Westminster Election (one seat)

*@Pat Doherty (Sinn Féin) 18,050 (48.4%, +9.5%)
@Thomas Buchanan (DUP) 7,365 (19.8%, +2.0%)
Ross Hussey (UCUNF) 5,281 (14.2%, +7.3%)
Joe Byrne (SDLP) 5,212 (14.0%, +4.9%)
Michael Bower (Alliance) 859 (2.3%)
Ciaran McClean (Independent) 508 (1.4%)
Electorate: 61,148; Total Poll: 37,632 (61.5%); Invalid Votes: 357 (9.5%); Valid Votes: 37,275

* incumbent
@ elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly from this constituency

A solid performance from SF in one of their stronger constituencies. If these votes were cast in a six-seat Assembly election, the SDLP would win the seat currently held by Kieran Deeny, SF would retain their three, and the UUP/UCUNF would gain a seat from the DUP.

2007 Assembly Election (7 March; six seats)

Full details of each count are available here.
*Barry McElduff (SF) 6971 (16.8%)
*Pat Doherty MP (SF) 6709 (16.2%)
Claire McGill (SF) 4757 (11.5%)
*Thomas Buchanan (DUP) 4625 (11.2%)
Allan Bresland (DUP) 4244 (10.2%)
*Kieran Deeny (Independent) 3776 (9.1%)
*Derek Hussey (UUP) 3686 (8.9%)
Josephine Deehan (SDLP) 2689 (6.5%)
*Eugene McMenamin (SDLP) 2272 (5.5%)
Seamus Shields (SDLP) 1057 (2.5%)
Joseph O'Neill (RSF) 448 (1.1%)
^Robert McCartney (UKUP) 220 (0.5%)

*Elected in 2003 from West Tyrone
^Elected in 2003 from North Down
SF 18,437 (44.5%, +5.9%) 3 seats (+1)
DUP 8,869 (21.4%, +3.9%) 2 seats (+1)
SDLP 6,018 (14.5%, -0.1%) (-1)
Ind 3,776 (9.1%, -5.6%) 1 seat
UUP 3,686 (8.9%, -4.7%) (-1)
RSF 448 (1.1%)
UKUP 220 (0.5%)

Electorate 58,367 
Votes cast 41,839 (71.7%); spoilt votes 385 (0.9%) 
Valid votes 41,454; quota 5,923

This was the least expected result of the election in 2007 (as it had been in 2003). For the UUP to be eclipsed by the DUP was not a total surprise, but for the SDLP to fail to win a seat, despite having over a quota of first preferences, was pretty incredible. Their internal transfers dribbled away, and Kieran Deeny picked up from all over the place to keep his seat. The last count saw Bresland (DUP) 358 votes ahead of Meehan (SDLP) though with 285 undistributed DUP votes from Buchanan's surplus which would have widened the gap.

2005 Westminster election (5 May, one seat)

*@Pat Doherty (Sinn Fein) 16,910 (38.9% -1.9%)
@Kieran Deeny (Independent) 11,905 (27.4%)
@Thomas Buchanan (DUP) 7,742 (17.8%)
@Eugene McMenamin (SDLP) 3,949 (9.1% -19.6%)
@Derek Hussey (UUP) 2,981 (6.9% -23.5%)

* outgoing MP
@ Member of the Assembly

If these votes were cast in a six-seat STV election, SF would have won three seats, Kieran Deeny two and the DUP one.

2005 Local Government Election (5 May)

First preference votes cast in the whole of the Omagh and Strabane council areas were as follows:

Sinn Fein 18,703 (43.4%)
DUP 8,246 (19.1%)
SDLP 7,698 (17.9%)
UUP 5,814 (13.5%)
PUP 64 (0.1%)
Independents 2,588 (6.0%)

If these votes were cast in a six-seat STV election, SF would win three and the DUP, SDLP and UUP one each.

2003 Assembly election (26 November; six seats)

Also available: details of each count with analysis of surplus transfers.
Kieran Deeney (Ind) 6158 (14.8%)
*Pat Doherty (SF) 6019 (14.4%)
*Barry McElduff (SF) 5642 (13.5%)
Thomas Buchanan (DUP) 4739 (11.4%)
Brian McMahon (SF) 4450 (10.7%)
*Derek Hussey (UUP) 3733 (8.9%)
*Eugene McMenamin (SDLP) 3465 (8.3%)
*Joe Byrne (SDLP) 2645 (6.3%)
Derek Reaney (DUP) 2547 (6.1%)
Bert Wilson (UUP) 1934 (4.6%)
Roy Reid (PUP) 233 (0.6%)
Steven Alexander (Alliance) 164 (0.4%)
SF 16,111 (38.6%, +4.5%) 2 seats
DUP 7,286 (17.5%, +0.1%) 1 seat
Ind 6,158 (14.8%) 1 seat (+1)
SDLP 6,110 (14.6%, -11.1%) 1 seat (-1)  
UUP 5,667 (13.6%, -2.1%) 1 seat
PUP 233 (0.6%)
Alliance 164 (0.4%, -1.8%)

Electorate 57,795 
Votes cast 42,328 (73.2%); spoilt votes 599 (1.4%) 
Valid votes 41,729; quota 5,962 


Reaction:
Every election produces some surprise results and this was the biggest of 2003 - independent candidate Kieran Deeny, campaigning for the retention of the hospital in Omagh, topped the poll. Most people had forecast that one of the two SDLP seats was vulnerable to Sinn Fein; in fact it fell to Deeny.

West Tyrone had lost 8.92% of its electorate in the great electoral register shake-out, varying from 16.42% in the Lisanelly ward of Omagh to 4.29% in the Glenderg ward of Strabane. 3 constituencies lost fewer voters, 14 lost more.

2001 Westminster Election (7 June; one seat)

@Pat Doherty (Sinn Fein) 19,814 (40.8%)
*Willie Thompson (UUP) 14,774 (30.4%)
@Brid Rodgers (SDLP) 13,942 (28.7%)

Electorate: 60,739; votes cast: 48,964 (80.6%); spoilt votes: 434 (0.8%)
Valid votes: 48,530; SF majority 5,040

* outgoing MP
@ Member of the Assembly

A particularly dramatic SF gain; the SDLP had foolishly been talking up their chances here, but in the event came third. A six-seat Assembly election on these figures would give two seats each to SF, the UUP and the SDLP, though only a very small increase in the SF vote would give them three seats and the SDLP one.

2001 Local Government Election (7 June)

First preference votes cast in the whole of the Omagh and Strabane council areas were as follows:

SF 19,398 (40%)
SDLP 10,009 (21%)
UUP 7,733 (16%)
DUP 7,657 (16%)
WP 211 (0.4%)
Inds 3,088 (6%)
Total valid votes 48,096 (79.1% of electorate)

It is easy enough to extrapolate from the local council elections because the West Tyrone constituency includes two whole district councils. The votes cast would have given the two Unionist parties a seat each, and probably one to the SDLP and three to Sinn Féin.

1998 Assembly Election (25 June; six seats)

Also available: details of each count with analysis of surplus transfers.
 
*Oliver Gibson (DUP) 8,015
#Pat Doherty (SF) 7,027
*Joe Byrne (SDLP) 6,495
*Barry McElduff (SF) 4,963
*Derek Hussey (UUP) 4,622
Seamus Devine (SF) 3,676 
Eugene McMenamin (SDLP) 3,548
Alastair Patterson (UUP) 2,615 
Pat McDonnell (SDLP) 1,772 
*Paddy McGowan (Ind Community) 1,269 
Ann Gormley (Alliance) 1,011 
Johnny McLaughlin (Pro-Agreement Socialist) 570 
Laurence O'Kane (Community and Environmental Conservation Campaign) 171 
Tommy Owens (WP) 157 
Robert Johnstone (NLP) 40
SF 15,666 (34.09%) 2 seats
SDLP 11,815 (25.71%) 2 seats
DUP 8,015 (17.44%) 1 seat
UUP 7,237 (15.75%) 1 seat
Ind Comm 1,269 (2.76%) 
Alliance 1,011 (2.20%) 
Soc 570 (1.24%) 
CECC 171 (0.37%) 
WP 157 (0.34%) 
NLP 40 (0.09%) 

Electorate 59,081 
Votes cast: 46,913 (79.4%); spoilt votes 962 (2.1%) 
Valid votes: 45,951; quota 6,565

The most predictable result in Northern Ireland. Barry McElduff finished with 5,997 votes, far ahead of his running mate Seamus Devine's 4,088.

* elected in 1996 Forum/talks election from West Tyrone
# elected in 1996 Forum/talks election as a 'top-up' candidate.

1997 Local Government Election

First preference votes cast in the whole of the Omagh and Strabane council areas were as follows:

Sinn Féin 13,388 votes (32%)
Social Democratic and Labour Party 9,588 votes (23%)
Ulster Unionist Party 8,770 votes (21%)
Democratic Unionist Party 6,080 votes (15%)
Alliance Party of Northern Ireland 926 votes (2%)
Labour 711 votes (2%)
Workers Party 457 votes (1%)
Democratic Left 148 votes (0.48%)
Ulster Independence Movement 42 votes (0.10%)
Others 1469 votes (4%)
Total valid votes 41,580 (71.08% of electorate)

1997 Westminster Election (one seat)

William Thompson (Ulster Unionist Party) 16,003 (35%)
ƒJoe Byrne (Social Democratic and Labour Party) 14,842 (32%)
Pat Doherty (Sinn Féin) 14,280 (31%)
Ann Gormley (Alliance Party of Northern Ireland) 829 (2%)
Tommy Owens (Workers' Party) 230 (0.50%)
Robert Johnstone (Natural Law Party) 91 (0.20%)
Turnout 46,275 (79.55%)

ƒ member of the Forum

1996 Forum Election (five seats)

Also available: full list of 1996 candidates

Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) 11,622 (28%); Joe Byrne, Paddy McGowan elected
Sinn Féin (SF) 11,516 (28%); Barry McElduff elected
Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) 7,327 (18%); Derek Hussey elected
Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) 6,727 (16%); Oliver Gibson elected
Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI) 1,081 (3%)
Labour (Lab) 792 (2%)
Ulster Democratic Party (UDP) 397 (1%)
United Kingdom Unionist Party (UKUP) 292 (1%)
Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) 238 (1%)
Northern Ireland Women's Coalition (NIWC) 185 (0.45%)
Green Party 158 (0.39%)
Workers Party (WP) 169 (0.41%)
Democratic Left (DL) 130 (0.32%)
Conservative Party (Con) 119 (0.29%)
Ulster Independence Movement (UIM) 107 (0.26%)
Natural Law Party (NLP) 45 (0.11%)
Independent Chambers 30 (0.07%)

Electorate: 57,348; votes cast: 41,146 (71.7%); spoilt votes: 211 (0.5%); valid votes: 40,935

Results table 1996-2007


DUP UUP Oth U Alliance Oth SDLP SF
2007a
21% 9% 1%
10% 15% 44%
2005w 18% 7%

27% 9% 39%
2005lg 19% 13% 0%
6% 18% 43%
2003a 17% 14% 1% 0% 15% 15% 39%
2001w
30%


29% 41%
2001lg 16% 16%

7% 21% 40%
1998a 17% 16%
2% 5% 26% 34%
1997lg 15% 21%
2% 7% 23% 32%
1997w
35%
2% 1% 32% 31%
1996f 16% 18% 3% 3% 4% 28% 28%

See also: Full 2003 results from West Tyrone | Full 1998 results from West Tyrone | The Boundary Commission's Provisional Recommendations | Boundary Commission 2003 | Jim Riley's analysis of votes and seats in the 1998 Assembly election | The constituencies

Other sites based at ARK: ORB (Online Research Bank) | CAIN (Conflict Archive on the INternet) | Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey

Your comments, please! Send an email to me at nicholas.whyte@gmail.com.
 
This page has been developed with the support of a project grant from the New Initiatives Fund of the Electoral Commission. However, any views expressed on this page or, in particular, other pages of this website are those of the author and not necessarily shared by The Electoral Commission.

Nicholas Whyte, 3 June 1998; last updated 28 March 2015.



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