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All smiles: Paul Maskey at the counting centre in West Belfast last night.
All smiles: Paul Maskey at the counting centre in West Belfast last night.
Image: Paul Faith/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Sinn Féin retains Gerry Adams' old seat in West Belfast

The result was widely expected but notable for the historic low turnout.
Jun 10th 2011, 7:35 AM 320 4

AS HAD BEEN expected, Sinn Féin has retained the West Belfast seat vacated by its president Gerry Adams following yesterday’s Westminster by-election.

Adams was there to present winning candidate Paul Maskey with a special commemorative hurley as the Northern Ireland assembly member and Belfast councillor took 70.6 per cent of the vote with 16,211 votes, reports BBC News.

Adams resigned his UK parliament seat earlier this year in order to stand for Dáil Eireann where he now leads Sinn Féin in the Irish parliament.

Trailing well behind Maskey was Social Democratic and Labour Party’s Alex Attwood with 3,088 votes, following by Gerry Carroll of People Before Profit with 1,751.

It was a record low turnout for Northern Ireland’s Westminster elections with 37.53 per cent of the electorate voting in the by-election in what was the fourth safest seat in the whole of the UK.

Also polling were Brian Kingston of the Democratic Unionist Party who took 1,393 votes, Bill Manwaring of the Ulster Unionist Party who took  386 votes and Aaron McIntyre of the Alliance Party who got 122 votes.

Speaking afterwards, Gerry Adams told the press:

It’s Paul Maskey’s night. Once again Sinn Fein in west Belfast has delivered and we delivered big time.

Maskey, celebrating victory on his 44th birthday, said that he was “delighted” and RTÉ reports him adding: “They have endorsed Sinn Fein yet again for their Westminster seat.”

In line with long-time party policy, Maskey will abstain from taking his seat in the House of Commons in London.

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Hugh O'Connell


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