Big rise in support for ‘middle ground’ parties

WHILE Fermanagh has long been a battleground between “green and orange”, one of the candidates in this year’s Westminster election has noted a slow move away from the tribalism of the past. 
Cllr Adam Gannon was speaking after he overseen one of the biggest jump in the vote for the SDLP in Fermanagh South Tyrone (FST) for years. Coming third behind Michelle Gildernew and Tom Elliott, Cllr Gannon received 3,446 votes, almost 1,000 more the party got in 2017. 
He was followed by the Alliance’s Matthew Beaumont, who helped treble his party’s vote to 2,650, and Independent candidate Caroline Wheeler, who picked up 751 votes. 
In all, the total number of FST votes received by candidates that were not Sinn Fein or unionist jumped from 3,896 to 6,847. 
“Every single one of those votes for myself, Matthew and Caroline sends the message that people want better than this sectarian, green and orange nonsense that we’ve been made put up with,” said Cllr Gannon. 
“The fact FST is such a close election between the two main contenders, it puts even more weight in those people who use their votes not tactically, but to vote for who they wanted instead.” 
Meanwhile, Alliance’s Matthew Beaumont said while he was grateful for every single vote he received, he felt the party could have increased its vote even further locally, and was now eyeing a seat at Stormont. 
“Three hundred percent is a huge achievement. We probably have Assembly elections coming up. 
“We want the fifth seat. I think we would be an outside shot, if we keep doing what we’re doing.” 

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