Castle electoral area is located in the north of the City. It consists of the areas around York Road, Shore Road, Whitewell Road, Cavehill Road and the Antrim Road above Stewartıs supermarket.
It is a socio-economically varied electoral area with both some of the richest and some of the poorest areas of the City. The solidly loyalist areas of the Shore Road and York Road suffer high levels of economic deprivation. There are other isolated Working Class Protestant areas scattered across the DEA - White City, Kilcoole, Westland and Henderson. There are also a few isolated Working Class Catholic areas - Fairyknowe, Lower Whitewell, Lower Cavehill, Kansas and Glandore. The rest of the constituency is middle class or even better off - some of these areas are very mixed - Ben Madigan, Downview, Castle, Upper Cavehill. Some are mainly Catholic - Salisbury, Somerton and increasingly Fortwilliam. Only Dunlambert is middle class and majority Protestant. The Catholic areas would have been mixed or even predominantly Protestant until the last ten or fifteen years. As a result most of them have a significant Protestant minority. Of majority Protestant areas, only Henderson, Dunlambert and Kilcoole have a significant Catholic population.
Tradtionally the ward returned 4 Unionists, 1 Alliance and 1 SDLP. In 1993 the SDLP broke the pattern on the back of a growing Catholic population to gain the Alliance seat. In 1997 it was all change as Sinn Fein polled a record vote and Alliance managed their best vote since 1981 and both took seats. The SDLP and UUP lost a seat each. The fringe loyalists were tipped to take a seat here after a strong showing in the 1996 Forum elections. Their vote was surprisingly poor.
The DEA also managed a record - Andrea Gribben of the Natural Law Party obtained the lowest vote ever by a candidate in a NI council election since STV was introduced with 5 first preference. Norman McClelland of the Ulster Independence Movement also managed to get less votes than signatures on his nomination paper.
The Alliance election agent in Castle was a certain Gerry Lynch.