SF overtakes SDLP in South Down by-election
Sinn Fein's Colm Burns topping the poll in the Crotlieve ward of Newry
and Mourne Council, narrowly missing a shock victory in Wednesday's
South Down by-election.
A one-third decline in the SDLP vote from 51% to 34%, saw it overtaken
by Sinn Fein, whose share of the vote jumped from 26% to 34.5%. The
SDLP's Paul McKibben won the seat in the second round following the
transfer of votes from the other candidates.
The result marks a dramatic rise in Sinn Fein support and is an
indication that a swing towards the party away from the rival
nationalist SDLP is continuing.
Commenting on the outcome of the by-election, Colm Burns said the
result was "proof that the electorate is increasingly giving their
support to the policies and political analysis forwarded by Sinn
He said the party had a proven record of effective representation on
Newry & Mourne District Council, and this was borne out by the fact
that it was the largest party on the council.
"This is a huge advance for Sinn Fein in this area. South Down has
traditionally been perceived as a major stronghold for the SDLP and we
view the increased support for Sinn Fein in this area as a very
positive sign for future elections.
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those people
voted for myself and Sinn Fein in this by-election and especially all
the activists who worked exceptionally hard to make this possible. Go
Raibh Mile Maith Agaibh Go Leir."
Sinn Fein Vice President Pat Doherty welcomed the result.
"Once again we have seen the increase in the Sinn Fein vote become
story of the election," he said. "The large increase in our
the vote saw Sinn Fein top the poll in first preference votes and take
a large proportion of the transfers.
"This result is a clear endorsement of our party's strategy and puts
us in a prime position to win this seat in the next election."
The following is the full result:
Burns (SF) 2,340 (34.5%)
McKibben (SDLP) 2,309 (34.0%)
Kelly (Women's Coalition) 287 (4.2%)
Mussen (Ind.) 1,682 (24.8%)
Whitcroft (Alliance) 163 (2.4%)
Burns (SF) 2,988
McKibben (SDLP) 3,309