Sinn Féin confirmed to be the party of change in local elections

Sinn Féin obtained good results at North of Ireland local elections, while unionist parties lost heavily.

Sinn Féin make history in West Belfast, electing six councillors to the seven seat Black Mountain DEA making a noticeable push against the main parties.

It won a breakthrough two seats in Lisburn and Castlereagh and saw gains in Newry, Mourne and Down, as well as others in unionist areas. These balanced losses in more nationalist areas, mainly in Derry, where it lost three seats.

Party leader Mary Lou McDonald said the election was “very interesting”. She said the electorate had shown the political stalemate at Stormont was “unacceptable” and that voters are “for good government” and “for equality”.

“Society is well ahead of those political parties and political leaders who wish to deny recoginition to citizens and citizens’ rights,” she said.

McDonald added: ""There is an onus on all of the progressive parties to use their mandates in the coming talks to deliver equality, respect and the rights of all and re-establish genuine power-sharing and institutions operating to the highest standards.

The people have spoken, a new and more progressive society is emerging. It is the responsibility of political leaders to reflect on these results and commit to resolve the outstanding issues in the coming talks."

A second day of counting in the local elections has confirmed that the traditional unionist vote is well down across the Six Counties, while the moderate Alliance Party are the main beneficiaries of the election.

The Alliance Party vote was up by 4.8 percent, although Sinn Féin and the DUP remain the two dominant parties in the Six Counties and are largely unchanged. The DUP gained 1 percent overall. Sinn Féin’s vote was down by 0.9 percent, the SDLP down by 1.6 percent, and the UUP down by 2.0 per cent.

The decimation of the extreme-right unionist parties continued in counting on Saturday, helping the DUP to keep its head above water thanks to gains at the hands of UKIP and the TUV. It was also a bad result for Ulster Unionist Party amid a general consolidation and reduction of the unionist vote.

Alliance fell just short of outstripping the SDLP to become the fourth largest party in the North after almost doubling its vote share, from 6.6% to 11.5%. It won seats for the first time in Derry and topped the poll in every ward in Lisburn and Castlereagh, gaining four seats there.

Its opposition to Brexit was being credited with winning over the support of a large section of Remain voters fleeing the main unionist parties. Party leader Naomi Long, whose campaign to win a seat in the European Parliament, received a sharp boost. She said she was delighted with her party’s performance.

“While this is a council election, it is clear people have been left disillusioned with the stagnation at Stormont and deadlock at Westminster,” she said.

The following is the full result in terms of the number of seats (compared to 2014):

Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) 122 (-8)
Sinn Féin (SF) 105 (105)
Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) 75 (-13)
Social Democratic & Labour Party (SDLP) 59 (-7)
Alliance Party 53 (+21)
Green 8 (+4)
Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) 6 (-7)
People before Profit (PBP) 5 (+4)
Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) 3 (-1)
Aontú 1 (+1)
Independent 25 (+10)