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Here’s a crash course on how the European Elections are shaping up in Northern Ireland

Haven’t been following the race up North? Here’s a taster.

LIKE THE REPUBLIC, the Northern Ireland is also facing the an election bonanza with both locals and Europeans taking place.

However, they will be going to polls today, a day ahead of the Republic.

The story of the local elections has been dominated by the UK Independent Party soaring popularity, with some predicting a very healthy majority being turned on councils.

The European elections in Northern Ireland is more of a mixed bag, with plenty of familiar faces and just one candidate whose party that has no representation in Stormont.

Not up to speed with proceedings? We have this five minute crash course for you of who’s who in the running for those 3 seats…

2010 General Election campaign Apr 29th Source: Paul Faith/PA Wire

Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) – Jim Allister

Allister is the only former, but not currently sitting, MEP in the race. He was elected to Brussels in 2004 with the Democratic Unionist Party, although half-way through his term he dramatically left the party to set up the TUV. While his vote plummeted from 32 per cent of first preference votes in 2004 to 13.7 per cent in 2009, it still leaves him firmly in the running this time around.

Britain Northern Ireland Sinn Fein Manifesto Launch Source: AP Photo/Peter Morrison

Sinn Féin – Martina Anderson

Sinn Féin has held a NI seat in the European Parliament since 2004. Bairbre de Brún stepped down as MEP in mid-2012, with Anderson (left, in pink) taking over. If opinion polls south of the border are anything to go by, Anderson can be sure of a strong performance this time around.

Shoppers to face carrier bag tax Source: Paul Faith/PA Wire

Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) – Alex Attwood

A former Minister for the Environment and also Social Development, Attwood is looking give his party a role again in EU affairs. John Hume’s retirement meant the SDLP lost a two-decade streak in the parliament in 2004. Their 2007 candidate narrowly missed a seat.

PastedImage-97445 Source: FSB NI via YouTube

Conservatives – Mark Brotherston

The Tories previously fielded a candidate, Jim Nicholas, in this constituency under the banner of “Ulster Conservatives and Unionists – New Force (UCUNF)”. However, this alliance has since broken down, with Brotherston now running under the Northern Ireland’s brand of the Conservatives. Confused? We hope he’s not.

PastedImage-80036 Source: Green Party NI via YouTube

Green Party in Northern Ireland – Ross Brown

Brown’s background lies in economics, having worked temporarily in both the NI Assembly and the Treasury in London. Unlike their counterparts in the Republic, his party has yet to gain a seat in the European parliament.

DUP launch European and local election manifesto Source: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) – Diane Dodds

The DUP currently have, and look set to maintain, their seat, which incumbent Diane Dodds is contesting again. The party briefly lost their voice at EU-level when in 2007 Jim McAllister split from the party to form the TUV. It was quickly reclaimed in the 2009 election.

PastedImage-77802 Source: FSB NI via YouTube

Alliance Party of Northern Ireland – Anna Lo

The party has so far been unsuccessful in gaining a seat in the EU parliament, with candidate Ian Parsley receiving 5.5 per cent of first preference votes in 2009. This year’s candidate is Anna Lo, who has described herself as “anti-colonial” and recently said that Ireland would be better off united.

NI21's European election manifesto launch - Belfast

NI21 – Tina McKenzie

It’s unclear what this new party’s chances are of gaining a seat. McKenzie (pictured left) is the party’s current chair of the pro-Union party, set up in the middle of last year, and are leading a business-focused campaign.

Jim Nicholson - Euro Elections Source: Paul Faith/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) – Jim Nicholson

Nicholson has retained his seat in the EU parliament for over two decades now after first being elected in 1989. While not quite a Euro-sceptic, Nicholson refers to himself as “Euro-realist”, believing that the Union offers many benefits to Northern Ireland but that red tape needs to be reigned in. He’s also a Quaestor in the parliament.

PastedImage-69864 Source: UKIP NI via YouTube

UK Independence Party (UKIP) – Henry Reilly

Currently a sitting councillor in Newry, Reilly previously worked in various government departments relating to agriculture and rural development – a focus of his campaign. Reilly firmly believes that the United Kingdom will vote to leave the European Union.

Read: Here’s how Election 2014 is shaping up in Dublin

Read: Here’s how Election 2014 is shaping up in Ireland South

Read: Here’s how Election 2014 is shaping up in Midlands North West

Read all our Election 2014 coverage here > 

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About the author:

Nicky Ryan

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