Upper Bann looks set to be one of the tightest election races in Northern Ireland as local people take to the polls on Thursday (May 7).
Sitting MP David Simpson (DUP) is fighting off tough competition from Sinn Fein and the Ulster Unionists, with polls suggesting Jo-Anne Dobson (UUP) is closing the gap on her DUP rival.
Mrs Dobson is predicting a higher turn-out of voters on May 7.
She said that in the previous 2010 general election statistics for Upper Bann show that almost 45 per cent of local voters did not choose to exercise their democratic right at the ballot box.
“I am confident, however, by presenting a positive message to local people, that on May 7 this year Upper Bann constituency will have a much higher voter turn-out than in previous elections,” she said.
“I was born, brought up, and educated in Upper Bann – it is in my DNA - and I feel that is why I’m receiving a fantastic reception on the doorsteps, often from people who have chosen not to vote in previous elections.
“I sincerely believe the people of Upper Bann will vote out of hope and not out of fear on May 7.”
The DUP’s David Simpson is encouraging people to get out and vote on Thursday, saying they should “seize the day.”
He continued: “Only the DUP will have the numerical edge to sway the support of the larger National parties. However, in return for DUP support we will be ensuring that the needs of Northern Irish people are put first and foremost. The election on May 7 will give Northern Ireland the opportunity of a lifetime to transform our Province for future generations. If the people of Banbridge and surrounding areas wish to seize the opportunity that lays before us then only a vote for the DUP can turn this opportunity into a reality.”
Sinn Féin candidate Catherine Seeley has said she is firmly of the view that she can win in Upper Bann.
“It is true Sinn Féin topped the poll in the Assembly election in 2011 by just 29 votes ahead of the DUP, and it is true that this can happen again if citizens use their vote. Sinn Féin can win in Upper Bann. I am asking voters to give me the chance to provide positive leadership across all of Upper Bann.”
The candidates running for election are Amandeep Bhogal (Conservative), Jo-Anne Dobson (UUP), Damien Harte (Workers Party), Dolores Kelly (SDLP), Martin Kelly (Cannabis is Safer than Alcohol), Peter Lavery (Alliance), Catherine Seeley (Sinn Fein) and David Simpson (DUP).