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Monday, 18 September, 2000, 15:34 GMT 16:34 UK
South Antrim by-election: The candidates
Voters in Northern Ireland's South Antrim constituency go to the polls on Thursday to elect their next MP at the Westminster parliament.

There are six candidates standing in this by-election, which was caused by the death of the sitting MP, Clifford Forsythe of the Ulster Unionist Party.

David Burnside
David Burnside (Ulster Unionist)

Born in Ballymoney in 1951, he is married to Fiona and lives on the family farm at Secon. He is a graduate of Queen's University and runs a public relations company in London.

He is a founder patron of the Friends of the Union, a London-based group set up to promote unionism.

He is a former press officer of the Vanguard Unionist Party (1974-77). Mr Burnside supported the Good Friday Agreement but has since been critical of aspects of its implementation, especially proposals on policing.

David Collins
David Collins (Natural Law)

He was born in 1953, and holds a regional diploma in Art and Design. Mr Collins has a varied work experience from advertising and publishing to accounts and management.

Since 1989 he has been a teacher of transcendental meditation and is currently administrator of the Belfast TM centre.

He is deputy chairman of the Natural Law Party of Northern Ireland.

David Ford
David Ford (Alliance)

Born in 1951, Mr Ford is a former social worker who has held a South Antrim assembly seat since 1998. He is also an Antrim councillor.

Previously he served as a member of the Northern Ireland Forum (1996-8) and was a delegate to the multi-party talks that forged the Good Friday Agreement.

He has held senior position in the Alliance party and served as general secretary between 1990-8.

He is married with four children.

Donovan McClelland
Donovan McClelland (SDLP)

He was born in 1949 and is a graduate of Queen's University. He was a lecturer in economics at the University of Ulster until the 1998 election.

Mr McClelland is an assembly member for South Antrim and an Antrim councillor. he has advised the party on economics, agriculture, rural policy and fair employment issues.

He was also a delegate to the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation in Dublin.

He was a member of the SDLP's talks team which negotiated the Good Friday Agreement.

He is married with three children.

Martin Meehan
Martin Meehan (Sinn Fein)

He was born in Ardoyne, north Belfast, in 1945 and is a former republican prisoner.

He was the last internee to be released in 1975.

Mr Meehan has been active in the republican movement since the 1960s when he took part in the civil rights movement.

He stood for Sinn Fein in the assembly elections in South Antrim and polled more than 3,000 votes.

He is married with four children.

William McCrea
William McCrea (DUP)

Born in 1948, he is a Free Presbyterian minister who has been prominent in loyalist politics since 1971.

He is standing on an anti-agreement platform.

Mr McCrea was formerly MP for Mid-Ulster 1983-97. He is currently an assembly member for the area.

He also serves on Magherafelt District Council. Outside politics, he is a well-known gospel singer.

Mr McCrea is married with five children.

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18 Sep 00 | Northern Ireland
Close result expected in by-election
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