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West Tyrone Double Act

Mark Devenport | 17:59 UK time, Thursday, 31 March 2011

So when is an independent not an independent? How about when they are half of a double act? Eugene McMenamin,who quit the SDLP today, to enter the race in West Tyrone says he's working in tandem with the Omagh councillor Paddy McGowan- who left the SDLP back in the 1990s. The two will ask their supporters to give each other a second preference - yet another headache for the SDLP in the constituency.


  • Comment number 1.


    Yet another defection for the SDLP. They are a party in transition: They are a post-nationalist-unionist party, whose leader Margaret Ritchie wants them to be more like the UUP, and would like to steer them away from their traditional nationalist and socialist heritage. Is it any wonder they are dropping like flies? Voters and members!!!

    P.S. Trying to post on your 'Lucky Dip' blog entry but again it ain't working???

  • Comment number 2.


    (Can't get this to post on the 'Lucky Bag' bog entry, I'll try it here)

    My word that was quick. I've never heard of this new school 'St Columb's Grammar School'. They must have built it recently? I think you might be confusing it with St Columb's College Derry, which has had many famous past pupils: Seamus Heaney; John Hume; Bishop Edward Daily; Brian Friel; Martin O'Neill to name but some. All of those men, and in fact probably 95% of the people who live in and visit this city, know it as Derry.

    Let me remind you of a quote from one of those famous men: " advised my passport’s green. No glass of ours was ever raised to toast The Queen".

    Kind regards from Derry City!!!

  • Comment number 3.

    In 1998 the SDLP had two MLAs in West Tyrone. Now they have none. One was Eugene McMenamin.
    In 1997 they had five councillors in Strabane. In 2005 they had two including Councillor McMenamin.
    In 2005 the SDLP dropped 19% in their vote share West Tyrone Westminster Election. The candidate was Eugene McMenamin.
    After the shambles of 2007, three candidates with one quota and ending up without a seat, the SDLP said it would rebuild. They had West Tyrone more in mind than anywhere else. And it is.....or now perhaps......WAS.......widely predicted that they will regain a seat. On balance I think thats more likely than unlikely. Especially as he is little more than a "spoiler" and these transfers usually come back home.
    A careful look at McMenamins electoral track record begs the question.
    Is his defection good news or bad news?

  • Comment number 4.


    I had the same thought, had to read it a few times to figure out if it was the same school I was thinking of. The only school in the region to boast two Nobel laureates in their alumni. Maybe Mark was confusing it with Foyle and Londonderry?

    Love, PieMan

  • Comment number 5.

    Fair enough Disgusted - will change school name - that's a lesson not to copy and paste from Basil's news release...

  • Comment number 6.


    I know you enjoy the banter. If it were me, I'd of ran a Google check first. Basil's staff obviously don't look into these things... I wonder how many times his SatNav has let him down due to staff error. In fairness I would have expected you to get it right Mark. Google is at your finger tips!!!


    Just to save me looking, who are the two Laureates??? I know Heaney has a Nobel prize for Literature; he translated Beowulf. I also know Hume has a Nobel Peace Prize. Is Hume also a laureate? Or is there another???

    Kind Regards from Derry City!!!

  • Comment number 7.


    It's both Heaney and Hume. Any recipient of any of the Nobel Prizes is considered a laureate. Although, unofficially, it's more "prestigious" if you can win one unshared (bad news for John & David). Linus Pauling is the only person to have won 2 Nobel Prizes, and both of them were unshared (Chemistry and Peace). Quite the laureate, that man.

    Love, PieMan

  • Comment number 8.

    I forgot to say that modern thinking seems to be that the "Peace Prize" is also losing prestige. It seems to go to famous people who've done relatively little. Barack Obama won it for simply not being George Bush - anyone could have done that! (well, apart from W).

  • Comment number 9.

    The now defunct St Colman's in Strabane has become the new build Holy Cross College which was an amalgamation of the 3 CCMS schools in the town - perhaps that's why Basil has become a little confused.

  • Comment number 10.


    Cheers, I had a look into it myself. The reason I asked in the first place, is because of the definition of a laureate I found in my Collin's Concise. John Hume was neither a man of war, nor a man of literature!!!


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