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West Belfast
SF hold

Constituency Profile by Robert Waller
No seat in the United Kingdom has had so dramatic and war-torn a recent history as this heartland of Catholic and nationalist West Belfast, where as well as a long tradition of moderate forces for change such as Gerry Fitt (under various labels) and Dr Joe Hendron of the SDLP, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams won in 1983, 1987 and 1997, never taking his seat because of the oath of the allegiance to the Crown forbidden by his strong Republican principles. Adams has a very strong voice in affairs in Northern Ireland now, although his party does not win the majority of votes even of the RC and nationalist minority (under current boundaries) in the North, and does far worse in the Republic itself. This is not likely to change, and he will probably be able to win Belfast West again in 2001 as politics continue to polarise, and more extreme solutions seem on the wax once again. Clearly he hopes that soon he will not be an MP in a Westminster Parliament, but that day also seems long off.

Personality Profile by Byron Criddle
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has been MP here from 1983 to 1992 and since 1997. Born 1948 into a family of republican veterans, he attended St Mary's (Christian Brothers) Grammar School, and has had no occupation since working as a barman in Belfast pubs in the early 'seventies. A pious Catholic who has served as guard of honour at over 200 IRA funerals, tall, black-bearded and with reconstructed teeth, he cuts, for Unionists, a most sinister figure. Not taking the Oath, he does not take his Commons seat, yet he and his colleague Martin McGuinness are said to represent that faction in the Republican movement who see the armed struggle as over. In January 2000 he advised the Basque nationalists, Eta, to end their violence.

2001 Results - General Election (7 June 2001)
Gerry Adams
SF hold
SF Gerry Adams 27,096 66.12%
SDLP Alex Attwood 7,754 18.92%
TD David Kerr 116 0.28%
WP John Lowry 736 1.80%
UUP Chris McGimpsey 2,541 6.20%
DUP Rev Eric Smyth 2,641 6.44%
I Rainbow George Weiss 98 0.24%
Candidates representing 7 parties stood for election to this seat.

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