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Fermanagh and South Tyrone
SF gain

Constituency Profile by Robert Waller
One of the famous names in the battle between unionism and nationalism in Northern Ireland, and all too often literally a battle, Fermanagh and South Tyrone has been won by five different nationalist or republican candidates since 1955, but not all have taken their seats. A convicted felon was selected for Sinn Fein but disqualified in 1955. Frank McManus won under the label of Unity in 1970. Frank Maguire again uinited the Catholic vote and held the seat from October 1974 to his death in 1981. The hunger striker Bobby Sands won the by-election but died in the H-block protest the next month. His agent Owen Carron won that by-election but refused to take his seat. Meanwhile Unionists of various stripes have won as often as not, especially when their candidature is united and their enemies' is not. Since 1983 Ken Maginnis has won as an official Ulster Unionist, and with the creation of an extra seat in the west of Northern Ireland in 1997 has a better chance even if the SDLP and Provisional Sinn Fein should not compete and divide the nationalist vote equally as in that year, for Fermanagh and South Tyrone is now almost exactly half and half Catholic and Protestant. This is the most agricultural of seats in the province, with a tourist business based on the Erne lakes, but all is not peaceful. The main town in Ennsikillen, site of one of the most publicised bombings of the 1980s. Most of the residents here, Protestant and Catholic, unionist and nationalist, want peace in northern Ireland. Ken Maginnis became the first MP in 2001 to announce his retirement on Jan 5, which immediately intensified his party leader David Trimble's problems. Any one of a number of things could happen, most of which are worse than the current situation for the First Minister, reducing still further his allies in the Commons. The Protestant and unionist vote is split this time by an anti-agreement independent, who was badly injured in the Enniskillen bombing, Jim Dixon who has a chance of outpolling Maginnis's preferred successor, his long-time ally Jim Cooper. Worse, this split in the vote could let in the SDLP or even Provisional Sinn Fein (whose candidates won the highest number of votes in the Assembly elections), increasing the nationalist or republican claims to electoral consent and hence legitimacy in the province. It must be regarded as an open four-way fight, perhaps the most unpredictable for an outsider anywhere in the United Kingdom.

Personality Profile by Byron Criddle
The Ulster Unionists have replaced retiring Ken Maginnis with his election agent of 19 years, James Cooper. Like Maginnis, Cooper is a supporter of the power-sharing Agreement and equally vulnerable to the independent anti-agreement unionist Jim Dixon and - on a split vote - to Sinn Fein's Michelle Gildernew or the SDLP's 1997 candidate Tommy Gallagher. Cooper was born in 1950, educated at Portora Royal School, Campbell College, and Queen's University, Belfast. He is a solicitor and nephew of the former Unionist Leader and MP Harry West.

2001 Results - General Election (7 June 2001)
Michelle Gildernew
SF gain
UUP James Cooper 17,686 34.03%
I Jim Dixon 6,843 13.17%
SDLP Tommy Gallagher 9,706 18.67%
SF Michelle Gildernew 17,739 34.13%
Candidates representing 4 parties stood for election to this seat.

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