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Oldpark

Oldpark DEA is in the North Belfast Constituency. It consists of the following 6 wards: Ardoyne, Ballysillan, Cliftonville, Legoneil, New Lodge, Water Works. It consists of the areas around the Oldpark Road (above the peace-line at Rosapenna Street), Cliftonville Road, Ballysillan Road (including Sunninghill, but not including Kilcoole), Ligoneill Road, Crumlin Road (above Ardoyne, but not including Mountainview), Antrim Road (below Stewart's supermarket and including Newington), New Lodge Road and the Carrick Hill area. It is the only Belfast DEA includes some rural areas (150 or so electors above the Horseshoe Bend).

The ward has suffered more through political violence than anywhere else in Northern Ireland. One fifth of all troubles related deaths occurred here.

The overall demographic composition of the DEA is a roughly 2 to 1 Catholic majority, although there is a large degree of residential segregation. New Lodge and Ardoyne are the traditional republican strongholds in the area, solidly working-class Catholic and strongly Sinn Fein, Carrick Hill/Unity and The Bone are much the same, although much smaller, areas. Newington and the Lower Cliftonville Road are increasingly similar. Ligoneill and the Rosemount Gardens/Willowbank Gardens area off the Antrim Road are similar demographically, but are more evenly balanced between the SDLP and Sinn Fein.

The Protestant population is concentrated in Ballysillan, Upper Ardoyne and Lower Ligoneill, most of which is a series of deprived public-sector housing estates, although the Joanmount area and the Clare Glen estate are private sector and slightly better off. The other Protestant stronghold is the deprived and isolated Torrens estate, surrounded by Catholic areas - a natural PUP heartland.

There are a few communally mixed areas in the DEA. The Upper Crumlin Road arounmd Abbeydale is very prosperous and religiously mixed. The area around Cliftonville Circus is slightly less prosperous - in general, but also mixed. The area gradually becomes more Protestant towards Ballysillan and more Catholic the further down the Cliftonville and Oldpark roads one goes.

The ward was created from parts of the old Areas 'E', 'G' and 'H' in 1985. It has been fairly variable within communities, though has always elected 3-4 Nationalists, 0-1 Centre and 2 Unionist councillors. In 1985 it returned 2 SF, 1 SDLP, 1 Worker's Party 1 UUP and 1 DUP councillors. In 1989 the UUP gained the DUP seat, in 1993 SF got a third seat at the expense of the Worker's Party councillor (who by that time had joined Democratic Left) and in 1997 the PUP's Billy Hutchinson took the second UUP seat to leave the ward at 3 SF, 1 SDLP, 1 UUP, 1 PUP.

I was the Alliance Party election agent in this DEA in 1997.

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