NI Assembly Election 2017

The final results in the NI Assembly election are in with all 90 MLAs elected and the DUP still the largest party with 28, but Sinn Féin having polled well with just one less MLA.

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DUP's approach 'woke a sleeping beast' - SF's Ó Donnghaile

  • The SDLP's Colin McGrath and Sinn Féin's Niall Ó Donnghaile on the state of affairs following the election results

Sinn Féin's Niall Ó Donnghaile has said the approach of Arlene Foster and her DUP party over recent months and years "awoke a sleeping beast".

While he did not attribute his party's success at the ballot box to the DUP, he said the increased nationalist turnout, with his party polling over 200,000, showed that "the notion of a perpetual or permanent unionist majority is now smashed".

The Seanad Éireann member went on to suggest that "if yesterday's result doesn't highlight the fundamental need for a change in approach and change in attitude from the DUP then nothing will".

He also reiterated that that Sinn Féin would not be going into government with the DUP while Arlene Foster remained leader.

Turnout in all areas increased this election, up from around 54% to almost 65% and Sinn Féin saw its first preference vote up 3.9% on last year's election. The DUP meanwhile saw their share of first preferences drop by 1.1%.

Colin McGrath of the SDLP seemed to concur on the issue at the heart of the election, saying: "I don't think this was an election where it was us versus Sinn Féin.

"I think this was an election against the arrogance of the DUP and I think that people exercised their mandates on that basis."

He added: "There is a greatly reduced DUP returning and I think they'll have some soul-searching to do."

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