Irisch Republikanische Solidarität


Flash: Council election count complete

Counting is now completed in the North's local elections,
and results have confirmed advanced for Sinn Fein and Ian
Paisley's DUP.

In Belfast, the collapse in the Ulster Unionist vote enabled the
DUP to become the largest grouping with 15 seats to Sinn Fein's
14. However once again, the cross community Alliance Party
will hold the balance of power, with its four councillors
deciding which party will now hold the post of Mayor.

In Derry, the parties remain as they were, except for one seat
captured by the DUP from the UUP. The Sinn Fein Mayor Gearoid O
hEara lost a seat to a party colleague as the party's vote
management strategy worked against him.

Overall, Sinn Fein extended its lead over the SDLP, with 23.2%
of the vote, up 2.7 percentage points and winning seats for 126
councillors, a rise of 18. The party broke new ground in
Coleraine, Ballymena and Banbridge.

There were also strong performances in Strabane and Magherafelt
where Sinn Fein was one seat away from overall control and in
Moyle [County Antrim] where the party's team rose from one to
four seats.

The SDLP's vote slipped by 1.9% to 17.4%, and the party returned
101 councillors, down 16.

The DUP's vote to rose to 29.6%, up 8.2%. The Paisleyites won
52 seats, 40 from the Ulster Unionist Party, whose vote declined
from 23.2% to 18%. The remainder came at the expense of
smaller unionist parties and independent candidates.

The DUP won control of two councils for the first time. They
gained 12 seats out of 23 in Ards Borough Council and also have
13 councillors of 23 in Castlereagh.

In a breakthrough for the Green Party, the environmentalists
have gained three seats in the election -- all in County Down --
and are now aiming for a seat in the Belfast Assembly should an
election be called.

Eamonn McCann's SEA and a number of independent republicans
failed to win seats.

In Fermanagh the gender balance of the council was among the
notable changes. Six women were elected compared to the previous
tally of one.

Speaking from the Belfast Count Centre this evening, Sinn Fein
President Gerry Adams thanked all those who had voted for the

He pointed out that almost one third of those elected for the
party were women, and many of its councillors had been elected
for the first time.

"This result is all the more remarkable given the poisonous
atmosphere created by the vindictive campaign conducted by our
opponents in the other political parties and by sections of the
establishment media," he said.

"There is an onus on all of them to accept that the people have
spoken and to respect and uphold the rights of all sections of
the electorate.

"Sinn Fein is about changing the face of local government. Our
councillors, particularly those elected to councils where we
have gained representation for the first time, will face the
many challenges with courage, determination and integrity.

"They will join with our 126 councillors in the 26 Counties to
advance our agenda for change and to build a real alternative.

"Together they will work for equality and to strengthen the
powers of Local Government. Among their key priorities are
delivering quality services, promoting power-sharing, tackling
discrimination and providing civic leadership and strong

The following is the final state of the parties in the council

DUP - 182 seats, up 52 (29.6%, up 8.2%)
Sinn Fein - 126 seats, up 18 (23.2%, up 2.7%)
UUP - 115 seats, down 40 (18.0%, down 5.2%)
SDLP - 101 seats, down 16 (17.4%, down 1.9%)
Alliance - 40 seats, up 2 (5.0%, down 0.2%)
Green - 3 seats, up 3 (0.8%, up 0.8%)
United Unionist - 2 seats, up 2 (0.3%, up 0.3%)
PUP - 2 seats, down 2 (0.7%, down 0.9%)

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