Irish Republican News · June 10, 2011
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Paul Maskey elected MP for West Belfast

Sinn Fein Assembly member Paul Maskey has been elected as the new MP for West Belfast, replacing party president, Gerry Adams.

In a by-election held on Thursday, Mr Maskey received more than 13,000 votes in a historic low turnout of just 37%.

Mr Maskey is a brother of former Sinn Fein Mayor of Belfast Alex Maskey.

He as afforded a clear run in the strongly republican constituency after internee Marian Price, secretary of the 32 County Sovereignty Committee, was debarred under legislation dating from the 1981 hunger strike.

Mr Maskey thanked those who turned out to vote:

“First and foremost I would like to thank those who came out and voted today and have given Sinn Fein a ringing endorsement in this by election.

“This part of the city is moving forward and I will endeavour to be part of that and work tirelessly to do what I can for the people of West Belfast.

“I take on the proud and strong legacy of Sinn Fein Party President Gerry Adams, TD and look forward now to the challenges in front of me.”

The West Belfast seat is considered to be the safest in the Westminster parliament, and was held by Gerry Adams for more than 20 years.

Mr Adams resigned his seat when he was elected to the Dail as a TD for the Louth constituency.

He said he has fond memories of his time as MP for West Belfast: “I’m really honoured to have represented the people of this community.

“They’re a brilliant, wonderful group of people and it’s a great, great honour to be in anyway representing them for as long as I did, and I appreciate it very, very much.”

SDLP Environment Minister at Stormont Alex Attwood, who is also an MLA for the area, came in a distant second with 3,088 votes.

Gerry Carroll representing People Before Profit notched 1,751.

Democratic Unionist Brian Kingston polled 1,393 and Bill Manwaring for the Ulster Unionists garnered a disappointing 386.

The Alliance Party’s candidate Aaron McIntyre received 122 votes.

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© 2011 Irish Republican News