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West Belfast

2010 Results:
Sinn Fein: 22840 (71.1%)
SDLP: 5261 (16.4%)
DUP: 2436 (7.6%)
UCUNF: 1000 (3.1%)
Alliance: 596 (1.9%)
Majority: 17579 (54.7%)

Notional 2005 Results:
SF: 25701 (69.8%)
SDLP: 5520 (15%)
DUP: 3989 (10.8%)
UUP: 1162 (3.2%)
Alliance: 261 (0.7%)
Other: 186 (0.5%)
Majority: 20181 (54.8%)

2005 Result:
SF: 24348 (71.3%)
SDLP: 5033 (14.7%)
DUP: 3652 (10.7%)
UU: 779 (2.3%)
Rainbow: 154 (0.5%)
Ind: 147 (0.4%)
Workers: 32 (0.1%)
Majority: 19315 (56.6%)

Boundary Changes: Gains Dunmurry ward and part of Derriaghy ward – uniquely in the whole of the boundary review, this leavies Derriaghy divided between two different constituencies.

Profile: The most Catholic seat in Northern Ireland, the heartland of Republicanism and the poorest and most depressed in Northern Ireland. It is a young seat of council housing, the unemployed poor, and single parent families.

The core of the seat is the Falls Road area, with the municipal terraces and paramilitary murals that characterise the public image of Northern Ireland and the troubles. To the north – across the barricades of the peace line – is part of the loyalist stronghold of the Shankill and to the south the estates of Twinbrook and Poleglass. There are comparatively middle class pockets, and pockets of protestants like Suffolk, but mostly this is a homogenous, poor, working class Catholic seat.

In the past this seat was represented by Gerry Fitt, who won it as Republican Labour in 1966, founded the SDLP in 1970 and left his own party in 1979. He failed to retain the seat as an independent in 1983 and the split nationalist vote alowed Gerry Adams to become the first Sinn Fein MP for decades. Adams lost his seat to the SDLP’s Joe Hendron in 1992, but won it back in 1997 and – with the addition of Poleglass and Twinbrook in the 1990s it became a safe Sinn Fein seat. Sinn Fein are now totally dominant here – securing over seventy percent of the vote and, in a remarkable bit of vote management, managing to secure 5 out of the 6 seats here in the 2007 assembly elections (the other being held by the SDLP’s Alex Attwood).

portraitCurrent MP: Paul Maskey (Sinn Fein) Born 1969. Belfast councillor 2001-2009. MLA for Belfast West since 2007.

2011 By-election.

Gerry Adams resigned from the Commons on the 26th January 2011 in order to contest the seat of Louth in the Republic of Ireland general election. Adams initially refused to apply for the Chiltern Hundreds or manor of Northstead, instead attempting to resign by writing to the Speaker. He was subsequently appointed Steward of the Manor of Northstead. The by-election was held on the 9th June and was a easy hold for Sinn Fein.

By-election candidates:
portraitPaul Maskey (Sinn Fein) Born 1969. Belfast councillor 2001-2009. MLA for Belfast West since 2007.
portraitAlex Attwood (SDLP) Born 1959, Belfast. Educated at Queens University. Solicitor. Belfast councillor since 1985. Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly for Belfast West since 1998. NI Minister for Social Development since 2010. Contested West Belfast 2001, 2005, 2010.
portraitGerry Carroll (People Before Profit)
portraitBrian Kingston (DUP)
portraitBill Manwaring (UUP)
portraitAaron McIntyre (Alliance)

2010 election candidates:
portraitGerry Adams (Sinn Fein) born 1948, Belfast. Educated at St Mary’s Christian Brothers Grammar School. Former bartender, turned international figurehead of Irish Republicanism. Interned during the 1970s he was allowed at the IRA’s request to take part in secret talks with the British government. He has on several occassioned been named as a former member of the IRA army council, but has consistently denied membership of it. Became President of Sinn Fein in 1983, first elected as MP for West Belfast in 1983 he survived an assassination attempt shortly afterwards in 1984. He lost the seat in 1992, but regained it in 1997 and like all Sinn Fein MPs has refused to take his seat at Westminster. Has achieved what would at most points in the past have been seen as the impossible – leading Sinn Fein into power sharing agreement with Ian Paisley’s DUP, those Adams himself has not taken up a position within the Northern Ireland Executive, instead leaving Martin McGuiness, Sinn Fein’s Chief Negotiator, to become Deputy First Minister of the province.
portraitBill Manwaring (UCUNF)
portraitWilliam Humphrey (DUP)
portraitAlex Attwood (SDLP)
portraitMarie Hendron (Alliance)
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NB - The constituency guide is now archived and is no longer being updated. The new guide is at http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/2015guide