Deeny stands down

West Tyrone’s independent MLA Kieran Deeny is to stand down at the next Assembly election.

Citing “family reasons” and the demanding time schedule he faced performing the role of a practicing GP and Assembly member Dr Deeny said, “It has become increasingly difficult to work even part-time as a GP and as an MLA and do the jobs properly.”

However in announcing his decision, Dr Deeny fired a parting shot at the four main political parties for not backing the hospital campaign in Omagh. While he enjoyed support from individual MLAs, he claimed there was no desire at a leadership level from either Sinn Féin, the DUP, the SDLP or the UUP to back his Tyrone County Health Coalition:

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Sinn Féin to target four Assembly seats in West Tyrone







Sinn Féin will seek to extend their political dominance in West Tyrone in 2011 by attempting to add a fourth MLA to the three Assembly seats they already hold in the constituency.

Chairman of Omagh District Council Declan McAleer (above right) and Chairperson of Strabane District Council Michaela Boyle (above left) are the two new additions for the 2011 campaign, joining Barry McElduff and Pat Doherty (centre). Strabane based MLA Claire McGill will step down at the next Assembly election on May 5.

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Onwards to the ‘Green Republic’

Ógra Shinn Féin’s summer ‘Greening the North’ campaign (or “annual display of lunacy” if you’re Tom Elliott) was announced to the world in the way all modern political activism should, with a blog post complete with photographic evidence.

For uninitiated, ‘greening’ involves painting Royal Mail postboxes a deeper shade of green, ‘An Post’ green to be precise (although some of those shades were a bit pale of you ask me!). “Dozens” of new green postboxes have joined the hundred or so already ‘greened’ around in previous campaigns around Tyrone and beyond say Ógra.

Of course for a young republican, painting post boxes green is great craic, it’s like vandalism with a purpose, with the general self-satisfactory glee that you’re working toward a united Ireland, one post box at a time.

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GP MLA’s two day week draws criticism

Assembly voting records published during the week surprised no one in West Tyrone when they revealed Dr Kieran Deeny lay joint bottom of the table with a lowly 23% attendance for votes in the chamber.

Of course this is nothing new and the independent Assembly member makes little apology when these stories surface, reiterating the fact that he opts to remain a practicing GP and focus mainly on health issues. He repeated again this week;

Because of the insecure nature of politics, I could not give up my GP job and I think people are aware of that. I’m committed to working two days a week and so sometimes that means I have to do constituency work on an a Monday or a Tuesday. Read more of this post

The count diary part 1: West Tyrone

As I pulled into the packed car park at Omagh Leisure Centre shortly after 10pm on Thursday night, the self-imposed media blackout of the election day coverage on was just lifting on Radio 4.

At that stage there was little to analyse other than exit polls. But from visiting a couple of polling stations around Mid-Tyrone earlier in the day, it was clear that the voter turnout was down in West Tyrone, a trend that Mark McGregor’s excellent turnout project over at Slugger O’Toole was suggesting was being repeated across the North. But this was to be expected considering that 2005’s general election had been run hand in hand with the local government elections.

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SDLP’s crayola vomit

SDLP appear to be using Microsoft Paint for their election ads.

What must be some attempt to give Joe Byrne’s stale election ad a freehand flow, instead looks like crayola vomit. I know the SDLP have struggled to win over the young vote, but should they really be recruiting their PR staff in the early learning centre?

SDLP continue to frustrate and disappoint in West Tyrone. The larder appears bare.