Election 97
 Newry and Armagh

Old constituency Newry and Armagh
Current MP Seamus Mallon
SDLP 92 26,073
UUP 92 18,982
Sinn Fein 92 6,547
Alliance 92 972
Elected party SDLP
Newry and Armagh

Robert Waller writes

The apparently peaceful scenery of mainly agricultural Newry and Armagh has seen many of the most violent incidents of the troubles. It includes the 'bandit country' of South Armagh, once patrolled by the British army only from the air, and the strongly republican town of Newry.

Surprisingly, this seat elected a Unionist MP up until 1986, because the Catholic vote was heavily split between the SDLP and Sinn Fein. However, when all the unionist MPs resigned in 1986, the SDLP's Seamus Mallon seized the opportunity in the resulting by-election to defeat the UUP's Jim Nicholson. He has built up his position since, and seems likely to return to Westminster this time, even if Sinn Fein and the SDLP split the Catholic vote heavily elsewhere.