Election 2015 Northern Ireland

Election 2015: Passionate fight in Foyle constituency

Image caption The city of Derry/Londonderry forms most of the Foyle constituency

Londonderry is a place where history never feels far away.

From the famous walls which held during the 17th century siege, to the murals showing scenes from Bloody Sunday, there are numerous reminders that this city has been politically pivotal.

It's also one of the most changed cities in Europe, having had some high-profile building projects in recent years, like the iconic Peace Bridge.

The City of Culture programme in 2013 helped to change Derry's image.

But social deprivation remains a problem.

Last autumn, Foyle was given the unwelcome distinction of having the worst unemployment rate of any parliamentary constituency.

So a number of significant issues are at play as politicians appeal for votes.

Foyle is important territory for the SDLP.

The party have held the seat since it was created in 1983.

Image caption Mark Durkan, SDLP, says he treats every election as a tight fight

Mark Durkan took over from John Hume in 2005.

He had a majority of almost 5,000 in the last election.

But the former deputy first minister says he treats every election as a tight fight - so he is impressing on people that voting is vital.

"Decisions are still taken at Westminster. While we want to see even more devolution, the fact is even decisions at Stormont end up being framed by decisions that are being made at Westminster, and that is why we need to be there to make the case."

Canvassing in the Glenbank Estate, he finds national issues arise.

One voter discusses the "bedroom tax", while another asks about cuts to public services.

Mr Durkan says: "There's no point people putting leaflets through the door saying 'vote for us in a Westminster election because we're going to stop Tory cuts' if they're not going to be in a position to stop a Tory government taking office."

That is an argument he is deploying against his main challenger.

Sinn Féin is running Gearóid Ó hEára, a former mayor of Derry.

Image caption Sinn Féin is running Gearóid Ó hEára, a former mayor of Derry

He argues that abstentionism would enable him to concentrate more effectively on work for local people.

BBC News NI accompanied him while he was meeting voters in the Bogside.

It is an area where support for Sinn Féin is always strong.

But the party say they've been reaching beyond their heartlands in recent years.

In the council elections last year, Sinn Féin overtook the SDLP in Derry city for the first time.

Mr Ó hEára believes that at some point, Sinn Féin will take the Westminster seat.

"I think we see this in a longer term," he says.

"Our vote is on the rise, the SDLP vote is in decline.

"There will come a point where it will turn over.

"It might be this election, it might not - but we're closing the gap with every election."

The combined unionist vote at the last two Westminster elections has been under 20%.

Image caption Julia Kee is standing in Foyle for the UUP

The SDLP play down the impact of tactical voting by unionists.

And the UUP candidate, Julia Kee, thinks it's less likely to happen this time.

"There may still be an element of tactical voting in the unionist community to keep Sinn Fein out," she says. "But I don't think it's going to be as reliable as the years before - the SDLP may find themselves on a sticky wicket."

The new face of the Ulster Unionist Party in the city is a community worker in Tullyally.

A short distance away in the Irish Street Estate, the DUP candidate Gary Middleton was knocking on doors.

At 24, he is one of the youngest elected representatives in Northern Ireland.

But he's already been deputy mayor, and recently took over from Maurice Devenney as Foyle's only unionist MLA.

He insists people who believe in the union should vote for a unionist party.

Image caption Gary Middleton, DUP, is one of the youngest candidates in the election

"We'd like to see unionists in particular turn out and show opposition to the nationalist parties and support for the union," Mr Middleton says.

"Let's analyse the result after the 7 May - we've put the hours in, we're looking forward to it."

He and all the other candidates say the issues which are being brought up during canvassing reflect the changed times in the city.

Jobs, the A6 road upgrade, and the expansion of Magee College are often mentioned.

Issues connected to the Troubles seem to be coming up less with every election.

Derry's past and present show that politics matters.

Foyle is a constituency where the election is being passionately fought and the result will be closely examined.

Other candidates in Foyle are: Hamish Badenoch, Conservative, the Alliance Party's David Hawthorne and UKIP's Kyle Thompson.