Sinn Féin confirmed as largest party in Northern Ireland Assembly in historic victory
Sinn Féin has won 27 seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly, the first time ever an Irish nationalist party has emerged with the largest number of seats in the parliament.
Sinn Fein vice president Michelle O’Neill said the result “ushers in a new era” for Northern Ireland.
With two seats left, Sinn Fein is on 27 to the British nationalist DUP’s 24.
The election has also been a big victory for the Alliance Party, which has so far more than doubled its eight seats in 2017 to at least 17 this year.
Sinn Fein’s victory however may not result in Michelle O’Neill becoming First Minister, as the DUP have already suggested that they will not take part in a devolved government there while issues around the Northern Ireland Brexit Protocol remain unresolved.
DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said that there were “lots of parties in lots of places in the world who decide not to go into a government, but we are committed to the political institutions”.
“I want to see the government at Westminster delivering on their commitments on the protocol,” he said. “We fought this campaign and secured a mandate from the people to go and sort out this protocol.
“That’s what we intend to do. We want the Government to act they know what they need to do. It’s time for them to step up.”
‘Here to do business’
Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald however said Northern Ireland needed to have a functioning Executive.
Speaking at the count centre in Magherafelt, Mrs McDonald said: “It has been a very successful campaign and we look forward to getting back to work and for Michelle to lead our team on Monday.
“We are here to do business. We need a functioning Executive. People are struggling and struggling badly now.
“They need relief, they need breathing space. We need the £300 million that has lain dormant, to get that into people’s pockets.
“Above all else we want to do politics by partnership. I don’t think there is any appetite for political posturing or gamesmanship at this point.
“We need good government and the kind of leadership that my friend and colleague Michelle O’Neill will bring.”
Mary Lou McDonald said she looked forward to Michelle O’Neill being nominated as First Minister at Stormont, saying that her message to unionists was “don’t be scared”.
Among the results as the count progressed today were that outgoing Stormont infrastructure minister Nichola Mallon has lost her seat. The SDLP deputy leader failed to be re-elected in the constituency of North Belfast.
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.
Irish unification, Scottish Independence and then it’s our turn #IndyWales
Tiocfaidh ár lá
This fills me with fear, if Ireland is unified and gets its full independence and Scotland also get their independence, that’ll leave us as Englands ( first) and last colony.
That scenario is unimaginable, with the disdain and disrespect the English parliament already show to Cymru, it would be 10 fold then.
Maybe this is a glass half full view and alternatively we’d follow the others and regain our independence, let’s hope so.
No fear Eifion, we are British, the first Britons actually. #IndyWales
The only Britons one might say. My big problem with independence is that we abandon our lost territories to the immigrants from Belgium and their Norman masters
Eifion I agree. Following Irish reunification and Scottish Independence, we in Wales could be faced with 2 distinct possibilities, either become independent or become part of England (and I mean England, because the UK would no longer exist). Since we are currently so dependent on England a lot of voters may chose that as the ‘safe’ option. Many (myself included) wouldn’t accept such an outcome.
Let’s see how democratic the DUP claim they are regarding Sin Fein wanting a vote to reunify Ireland. I think the people in Northern Ireland see the prosperity & peace in Eire and are tired of the antagonist DUP & supporters who live for conflict. And as others have said. Scotland and Northern Ireland are flying the flag of freedom, and rather than Unionists in Wales flying the white flag hopefully our time will come soon when Wales feels the benefit of its own resources and we can rejoin the world rather than be trapped in little Britain controlled by… Read more »
If people want to learn how the establishment works to keep the union going and the English at the top, watch how this story develops over the next few days, there are already articles in the press laying down the foundations, Westminster is absolutely bricking it. This is a time for independent and reunification groups to move to the front and start demanding change. Annibyniaeth!!
The DUP are complaining about the Conservative government in Westminster as an excuse not to take part in a devolved government in Northern Ireland with Sinn Fein.
Democracy only works for them when they are the beneficiaries.!
They have had it their way for too long and a United Ireland is long overdue. We have to hope that the Republic share this opportunity, do they really want a unionist agenda influencing their politics?
If Unionists had any sense they would give Northern Ireland its own distinct national identity, different from both Ireland and Great Britain and something which both communities could get behind. Instead they have this blind loyalty to all things British. The NI protocol gives businesses there an advantage over other parts of the British Isles because they have access to both the EU Single Market and UK Internal Market. If the NI Assembly is suspended then Northern Ireland will be run by a Secretary of State that the people of NI did not vote for, who would be able to… Read more »