Constituencies of Northern Ireland, 1973 - 1982

In 1972, the Government, House of Commons and Senate of Northern Ireland were abolished by the British government, which instead imposed direct rule over the region from Westminster. The hostilities which had mounted during the late 1960s had turned by the 1970s into a full blown conflict between nationalists and unionists. In 1973, the British government published the White Paper Northern Ireland Constitutional Proposals, which proposed the re-establishing of a Northern Irish government as an Assembly, to which members would be elected by Proportional Representation as they were prior to 1929. It was hoped that this new Assembly would not be dominated by the Ulster Unionist Party as the former House of Commons had been, and that the input of the Council of Ireland, which brought together members of Dáil Éireann and the new Assembly, would assuage the fears of members of the nationalist community.

The first elections to take place for the Assembly took place later in the year, with 78 members elected across 12 constituencies.

The constituencies ranged between 5 and 8 seats, with Fermanagh & South Tyrone holding the fewest and South Antrim holding the most. Antrim and Down were split into two constituencies, while Armagh remained a single entity. Fermanagh, Tyrone and (London)Derry were divided between three constituencies-  Fermanagh & South Tyrone, Mid-Ulster and Londonderry. Belfast was divided into four parts - north, south, east and west - and its overall size increased significantly on that of the 1929 - 1972 Belfast constituencies.

The multi-seat Assembly constituencies superimposed over the abolished single-seat constituencies
The Assembly was short-lived, as hardline unionist opposition saw it brought down in 1974. Further elections were held in 1975 and in 1982 (when some of the seat totals were changed), but a solution to the problems which had plagued Northern Ireland were some distance away yet.