Northern Ireland Euros
Northern Ireland is doubly unique in European elections. Not only does it differ from the rest of the United Kingdom through having it’s own party system, but it also uses its own electoral system. While Great Britain elected its MEPs by First Past the Post until 1994, then switching to a closed list system, Northern Ireland’s MEPs have always been elected using the Single Transferable Vote.
This has in practice lead to a very static result. From 1979 until 1999 Northern Ireland returned one MEP each for the DUP, SDLP and Ulster Unionists. After 1979 when the Ulster Unionists ran two candidates, these three parties only put up a single candidate each, so there was not even a question of which candidate would represent each party – Ian Paisley and John Hume represented the DUP and SDLP throughout this period, with John Taylor then Jim Nicholson winning for the Ulster Unionists.
In 2004 the pattern was broken. Paisley and Hume both retired, and Sinn Fein replaced the SDLP to take the nationalist seat. Paisley’s successor Jim Allister subsequently resigned from the DUP to found his own party, Traditional Ulster Voice, in protest at the DUP’s entry into a powersharing agreement with Sinn Fein. Jim Nicholson will also be fighting under different colours at the European election, being the first candidate of the Conservative and Ulster Unionists new electoral alliance.
Sitting MEPs and 2004 Results
|First Count||Second Count||Third Count|
|1.||Jim Allister (DUP)||175,761 (32.0%)||–||–|
|2.||Bairbre De Brun (Sinn Fein)||144,541 (26.3%)||–||–|
|3.||Jim Nicholson (UUP)||91,164 (16.6%)||124,646||147,058|
|-.||Martin Morgan (SDLP)||87,559 (15.9%)||88,010||108,531|
|-.||John Gilliland (Ind)||36,270 (6.6%)||39,390||eliminated|
|-.||Eamonn McCann (SEA)||9,172 (1.6%)||9,268||eliminated|
|-.||Lindsay Whitcroft (Green)||4,810 (0.9%)||5,134||eliminated|
Diane Dodds (DUP) Born County Down. Educated at Banbridge Academy and Queens University. Former teacher. Belfast councillor since 2005. MLA for West Belfast 2003-2007. Married to North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds.
Bairbre de Brun (Sinn Fein) Born 1954, Dublin. Educated at University College Dublin. Former teacher. MLA for West Belfast 1998-2004. MEP for Northern Ireland since 2004.
Jim Nicholson (Conservative/Ulster Unionist) Born 1945, Armagh. Armagh councillor 1977-1997. MP for Newry and Armagh 1983 until 1985, when he was the one of the Unionist MPs who resigned their seats en block to fight by-elections on the Anglo-Irish Agreement who failed to win. Contested Newry and Armagh 1987. Ulster Unionist MEP for Northern Ireland since 1989.
Alban Maguinness (SDLP) Born 1950, Holywood. Educated at St Malachy’s College and New University of Ulster. Barrister. Belfast councillor since 1985. MLA for North Belfast since 1998.
Ian Parsley (Alliance) Born 1977. Educated at Merchant Taylor School, Northwood and Newcastle University. North Down councillor since 2005.
Steven Agnew (Green) Research officer for Brian Wilson MLA. Contested East Belfast 2007 NI elections.
Jim Allister (Traditional Unionist Voice) Born 1953, Crossgar. Educated at Regent House Grammar and Queens University. Barrister. Newtownabbey councillor 1985-1987. Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly for North Antrim 1982-1986. Contested East Antrim 1983. Elected as an MEP for Northern Ireland representing the DUP, he resigned from the party in 2007 following the DUP’s agreement to enter into a powersharing agreement with Sinn Fein, in 2007 he founded Traditional Unionist Voice.