McDonald calls for Irish unity vote within five years

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With counting continuing, Sinn Féin and the Alliance Party remain the big winners from the Stormont Assembly election, with Sinn Féin’s Michelle O’Neill now certain to become First Minister-elect.

Sinn Féin received 250,388 first preferences, compared with 184,002 for the DUP and 116,681 for the Alliance Party. This means that it received 29% of first preference votes, compared with 21.3% for the DUP, 13.5% for Alliance, 11.2% for the Ulster Unionists and 9.1% for the SDLP.

In terms of seats, Sinn Féin took an immediate lead after fourteen of its candidates were elected on the first count, even in unionist dominated areas such as North and South Antrim.

So far the party has 18 seats, the DUP on 14, Alliance on 10, the Ulster Unionists on 4 and the SDLP on three. The rest of the 90 seats will be decided later today.

The outcome produced a predictable response from the Tory media, with the Daily Telegraph publishing a large front page headline warning that “Victory for Sinn Fein stokes fears of a united Ireland”.

Calculations that more nationalists than unionists have voted in a Six County election for the first time has also sparked a debate over party designation.

There are fresh questions over the attitude to a border poll of the cross-community Alliance Party, now the third largest in the north of Ireland, as well as People before Profit, who supports a border poll, but do not designate themselves as nationalists

With counting ongoing, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald hailed her party’s achievement in electing the First Minister in the Executive.

“Just remember that this place was organised more than a century ago, to ensure that a Michelle O’Neill would never occupy the position of First Minister. It’s a great moment for equality,” she said.

She also said she believes that a referendum on the reunification of Ireland could take place within the next five years.

Ms McDonald said partition has been “disastrous” and that there will be constitutional change on the island of Ireland within the next decade.

“We believe Irish unity is the best plan, biggest opportunity for all of us who live on this island. Partition has been disastrous, led to conflict and no end of hardship but it has to be done in a way that is planned, orderly, democratic and entirely peaceful,” she told The News Desk on Talk TV.

“So, I would say this, in the first instance we need to start planning now for the change ahead, and that has to involve all of us.”

When asked when she would like to see a referendum in the North and one in the South to take place, McDonald said within the next decade, adding that she believed they would be possible “within a five-year timeframe”.

“But much more importantly, I believe that the preparation needs to start now.”

In other election news, the Green Party leader Clare Bailey has lost her seat in south Belfast, while Ulster Unionist Party leader Doug Beattie remains in grave difficulty in Upper Bann.

Traditional Unionist Voice leader Jim Allister was returned in north Antrim but once again failed to elect a second Assembly member.

There was a further setback for the beleaguered SDLP when party veteran Pat Catney lost the sole nationalist seat in the Lagan Valley constituency.

Meanwhile, Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín has paid tribute to his party’s achievement in gaining a foothold of up to 4% in a number of constituencies. Targeting council seats in the next local election, he thanked “every voter, supporter and member who brought us to where we are today. Our political project of Human Rights, Irish Unity & Economic Justice is more important now than ever.”

Irish Republican Socialist Party activists also paid tribute to the performance of their two candidates on their first attempt, despite intense harassment. Dan Murphy was eliminated in west Belfast on the ninth count, while Colly McLaughlin was eliminated in Foyle on the fifth count.

One independent has been elected so far, former DUP MLA Alex Easton in North Down.

The following are the complete results so far:

East Belfast - Ongoing

Andy Allen (UUP) 5281
Karl Bennett (PUP) 970 Eliminated
David Brooks (DUP) 6633
Joanne Bunting (DUP) 7253 Elected Count 1
Charlotte Carson (SDLP) 484 Eliminated
Hannah Kenny (PBP) 500 Eliminated
Lauren Kerr (UUP) 1282 Eliminated
Naomi Long (Alliance) 8195 Elected Count 1
Eoin Macneill (Workers Party) 72 Eliminated
Peter McReynolds (Alliance) 5820
Mairead O’Donnell (SF) 1369
John Ross (TUV) 3087
Brian Smyth (Green) 2302

North Belfast - Ongoing

Phillip Brett (DUP) 6329
Julie-Anne Corr-Johnston (UUP) 2643
Fiona Ferguson (PBP) 1059
Billy Hutchinson (PUP) 762
Gerry Kelly (SF) 8395 Elected Count 1
Lily Kerr (Workers Party) 168 Eliminated
Brian Kingston (DUP) 4844
Seán Mac Niocaill (Aontú) 640 Eliminated
Nichola Mallon (SDLP) 3604
Nuala McAllister (Alliance) 4381
Ron McDowell (TUV) 3335
Carál Ní Chuilín (SF) 7392 Elected Count 1
Mal O’Hara (Green) 1446
Stafford Ward (Ind.) 489 Eliminated

South Belfast - Complete

Clare Bailey (Green) 4058 Eliminated
Paula Bradshaw (Alliance) 6503 Elected Count 7
Andrew Girvin (TUV) 1935 Eliminated
Deirdre Hargey (SF) 9511 Elected Count 1
Paddy Lynn (Workers Party) 139 Eliminated
Luke McCann (Aontú) 806 Eliminated
Stephen McCarthy (UUP) 3061 Eliminated
Neil Moore (Socialist) 353 Eliminated
Kate Nicholl (Alliance) 5201 Elected Count 8
Elly Odhiambo (Ind.) 107 Eliminated
Matthew O’Toole (SDLP) 5394 Elected Count 6
Edwin Poots (DUP) 7211 Elected Count 5
Sipho Sibanda (PBP) 629 Eliminated
Elsie Trainor (SDLP) 2030 Eliminated

West Belfast - Ongoing

Danny Baker (SF) 9011 Elected Count 1
Gerard Burns (Ind.) 192 Eliminated
Gerry Carroll (PBP) 3279
Patrick Crossan (Workers Party) 193 Eliminated
Paul Doherty (SDLP) 2528
Jordan Doran (TUV) 802 Eliminated
Órlaithí Flynn (SF) 6743
Linsey Gibson (UUP) 474 Eliminated
Gerard Herdman (Aontú) 1753
Donnamarie Higgins (Alliance) 907 Eliminated
Declan Hill (Ind.) 26 Eliminated
Stevie Maginn (Green) 307 Eliminated
Tony Mallon (Ind.) 129 Eliminated
Frank McCoubrey (DUP) 4166
Dan Murphy (IRSP) 1103 Eliminated
Aisling Reilly (SF) 5681
Pat Sheehan (SF) 6373

East Antrim - Complete

Mark Bailey (Green) 754 Eliminated
Roy Beggs (UUP) 3549 Eliminated
Norman Boyd (TUV) 3661 Eliminated
Stewart Dickson (Alliance) 5059 Elected Count 5
Danny Donnelly (Alliance) 4224 Elected Count 5
David Hilditch (DUP) 5662 Elected Count 5
Gordon Lyons (DUP) 6256 Elected Count 4
Siobhán McAlister (SDLP) 1200 Eliminated
Oliver McMullan (SF) 3675 Eliminated
John Stewart (UUP) 6195 Elected Count 3

East Derry - Ongoing

Caoimhe Archibald (SF) 6868
Jordan Armstrong (TUV) 2959
Maurice Bradley (DUP) 6786 Elected Count 6
Gemma Brolly (Aontú) 1095 Eliminated
Mark Coulson (Green) 347 Eliminated
Cara Hunter (SDLP) 3664
Chris McCaw (Alliance) 3338
Kathleen McGurk (SF) 4500
Amy Merron (PBP) 347 Eliminated
Niall Murphy (Ind.) 181 Eliminated
Stephanie Quigley (Ind.) 1503 Eliminated
Alan Robinson (DUP) 5151
Billy Stewart (Ind.) 82 Eliminated
Claire Sugden (Ind.) 3981
Russell Watton (Progressive Unionist Party) 933 Eliminated
Darryl Wilson (UUP) 2625 Eliminated

Fermanagh and South Tyrone - Ongoing

Derek Backhouse (Ind.) 128 Eliminated
Rosemary Barton (UUP) 2912 Eliminated
Matthew Beaumont (Alliance) 2583
Paul Bell (DUP) 4255
Emma DeSouza (Ind.) 249 Eliminated
Jemma Dolan (SF) 9067 Elected Count 1
Alex Elliott (TUV) 3091
Tom Elliott (UUP) 5442
Deborah Erskine (DUP) 5272
Adam Gannon (SDLP) 3836
Colm Gildernew (SF) 7562
Emmett Kilpatrick (PBP) 103 Eliminated
Denise Mullen (Aontú) 927 Eliminated
Áine Murphy (SF) 7379
Kellie Turtle (Green) 335 Eliminated
Dónal Ó Cofaigh (Cross Community Labour Alternative) 602 Eliminated

Foyle - Ongoing

Pádraig Delargy (SF) 9471 Elected Count 1
Emmet Doyle (Aontú) 2000
Mark H Durkan (SDLP) 7999 Elected Count 1
Ciara Ferguson (SF) 2220
Rachael Ferguson (Alliance) 5913
Gillian Hamilton (Green) 215 Eliminated
Shaun Harkin (PBP) 2621
Anne McCloskey (Ind.) 854
Ryan McCready (UUP) 3744
Colly McLaughlin (IRSP) 766 Eliminated
Sinéad McLaughlin (SDLP) 3189
Gary Middleton (DUP) 4101
Elizabeth Neely (TUV) 499 Eliminated
Brian Tierney (SDLP) 3272

Lagan Valley - Complete

Robbie Butler (UUP) 8242 Elected Count 2
Pat Catney (SDLP) 3235 Eliminated
Amanda Doherty (PBP) 271 Eliminated
Jeffrey Donaldson (DUP) 12626 Elected Count 1
Sorcha Eastwood (Alliance) 8211 Elected Count 4
Paul Givan (DUP) 5062 Elected Count 4
David Honeyford (Alliance) 4183 Elected Count 7
Gary Hynds (Ind.) 735 Eliminated
Simon Lee (Green) 648 Eliminated
Gary McCleave (SF) 2725 Eliminated
Lorna Smyth (TUV) 3488 Eliminated
Laura Turner (UUP) 1607 Eliminated

Mid Ulster - Ongoing

Keith Buchanan (DUP) 8521 Elected Count 6
Linda Dillon (SF) 8199 Elected Count 2
Meta Graham (UUP) 2191
Claire Hackett (Alliance) 2138
Alixandra Halliday (Aontú) 1305 Eliminated
Patrick Haughey (Ind.) 877 Eliminated
Sophia McFeely (PBP) 179 Eliminated
Patsy McGlone (SDLP) 5144
Glenn Moore (TUV) 3818
Michelle O’Neill (SF) 10845 Elected Count 1
Conor Rafferty (Resume NI) 13 Eliminated
Hugh Scullion (Workers Party) 107 Eliminated
Emma Sheerin (SF) 8215 Elected Count 2
Stefan Taylor (Green) 137 Eliminated

Newry and Armagh - Complete

Cathal Boylan (SF) 9843 Elected Count 1
Jackie Coade (Alliance) 3345 Eliminated
Daniel Connolly (Aontú) 1189 Eliminated
Nicola Grant (Workers Party) 160 Eliminated
Ciara Henry (Green) 314 Eliminated
William Irwin (DUP) 7577 Elected Count 5
Liz Kimmins (SF) 7964 Elected Count 5
Gavin Malone (Ind.) 3157 Eliminated
Justin McNulty (SDLP) 6217 Elected Count 5
Conor Murphy (SF) 9847 Elected Count 1
Keith Ratcliffe (TUV) 5407 Eliminated
David Taylor (UUP) 3864 Eliminated

North Antrim - Ongoing

Jim Allister (TUV) 8282 Elected Count 5
Matthew Armstrong (TUV) 2481 Eliminated
Bethany Ferris (UUP) 856 Eliminated
Paul Frew (DUP) 6242
Philip McGuigan (SF) 9384 Elected Count 1
Patricia O’Lynn (Alliance) 4810
Eugene Reid (SDLP) 1919 Eliminated
Laird Shingleton (Ind.) 66 Eliminated
Mervyn Storey (DUP) 6747
Robin Swann (UUP) 9530 Elected Count 1
Paul Veronica (Green) 343 Eliminated

North Down - Ongoing

Chris Carter (Ind.) 72
Alan Chambers (UUP) 3825
Stephen Dunne (DUP) 6266
Alex Easton (Ind.) 9568 Elected Count 1
Connie Egan (Alliance) 5224
Jennifer Gilmour (DUP) 2068
John Gordon (TUV) 1574
Naomi McBurney (UUP) 1342
Therese McCartney (SF) 687 Eliminated
Ray McKimm (Ind.) 604 Eliminated
Andrew Muir (Alliance) 6838 Elected Count 3
Matthew Robinson (Conservative) 254 Eliminated
Déirdre Vaughan (SDLP) 727
Rachel Woods (Green) 2734

South Antrim - Complete

Steve Aiken (UUP) 5354 Elected Count 4
Róisín Bennett (Aontú) 657 Eliminated
John Blair (Alliance) 7315 Elected Count 2
Pam Cameron (DUP) 6899 Elected Count 6
Trevor Clarke (DUP) 4943 Elected Count 7
Declan Kearney (SF) 9185 Elected Count 1
Mel Lucas (TUV) 4371 Eliminated
Roisin Lynch (SDLP) 3139 Eliminated
Jerry Maguire (PBP) 251 Eliminated
Paul Michael (UUP) 2821 Eliminated
Andrew Moran (Ind.) 262 Eliminated
Lesley Veronica (Green) 539 Eliminated

South Down - Ongoing

Patrick Brown (Alliance) 6942
Patrick Clarke (Ind.) 134 Eliminated
Sinéad Ennis (SF) 14381 Elected Count 1
Diane Forsythe (DUP) 6497
Noleen Lynch (Green) 412 Eliminated
Jill Macauley (UUP) 2880
Cathy Mason (SF) 9963 Elected Count 1
Paul McCrory (PBP) 205 Eliminated
Rosemary McGlone (Aontú) 1177 Eliminated
Colin McGrath (SDLP) 6082
Harold McKee (TUV) 3273
Karen McKevitt (SDLP) 3006

Strangford - Ongoing

Kellie Armstrong (Alliance) 7015 Elected Count 1
Stephen Cooper (TUV) 5186
Harry Harvey (DUP) 4704 Elected Count 6
Conor Houston (SDLP) 2440 Eliminated
Ben King (Ind.) 118 Eliminated
Róise McGivern (SF) 831 Eliminated
Nick Mathison (Alliance) 2822
Maurice McCartney (Green) 1607 Eliminated
Michelle McIlveen (DUP) 6601 Elected Count 5
Mike Nesbitt (UUP) 3693
Philip Smith (UUP) 2535 Eliminated
Peter Weir (DUP) 3313 Eliminated

Upper Bann - Ongoing

Glenn Barr (UUP) 3367 Eliminated
Doug Beattie (UUP) 128 Eliminated
Glenn Beattie (Heritage) 5199
Jonathan Buckley (DUP) 8869
Diane Dodds (DUP) 6548
Darrin Foster (TUV) 4373 Eliminated
Aidan Gribbin (Aontú) 571 Eliminated
Dolores Kelly (SDLP) 3645 Eliminated
Lauren Kendall (Green) 459
Liam Mackle (SF) 7260 Elected Count 4
John O’Dowd (SF) 9242
Eóin Tennyson (Alliance) 6440

West Tyrone - Ongoing

Nicola Brogan (SF) 8626 Elected Count 1
Barry Brown (Ind.) 119 Eliminated
Thomas Buchanan (DUP) 6640
Trevor Clarke (TUV) 4166
Stephen Donnelly (Alliance) 2967 Eliminated
Amy Ferguson (Socialist) 171 Eliminated
Carol Gallagher (Ind.) 354 Eliminated
Paul Gallagher (PBP) 1682 Eliminated
Susan Glass (Green) 252 Eliminated
James Hope (Aontú) 657 Eliminated
Ian Marshall (UUP) 1876 Eliminated
Declan McAleer (SF) 6343
Daniel McCrossan (SDLP) 5483
Maolíosa McHugh(SF) 6658

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