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Brady bunch see their man romp home with lots to spare

By Joanne Sweeney

Sinn Fein's Mickey Brady produced an inevitable win in Newry & Armagh as he protected his party's Westminster seat convincingly.

The declaration came just after 5.30am yesterday as tired election staff, supporters and media waited patiently for the result to be made official at the Banbridge count centre.

When it did come, it was a virtual damp squib.

The angry scenes witnessed earlier as the DUP's David Simpson held his Upper Bann seat against the challenge of UUP contender Jo-Anne Dobson were a distant memory as the second declaration proved a more sedate affair.

Even the roar that went up as Brady's name was called seemed to fail to energise the book lover as he stood on the stage with the other four candidates.

While he retained the seat held by outgoing party colleague Conor Murphy since 2005 and polled just under 2,000 votes more, the Sinn Fein majority from 2010 was halved.

A casually-dressed Murphy had been at the count from early on to support his republican colleague as well as his former election team. Mr Brady thanked his team for an impressive campaign and spoke of his pride in continuing the Sinn Fein legacy in the constituency.

"I'm replacing Conor Murphy and I'm so proud to do that. I will carry on the good work, " he said.

The UUP's Danny Kennedy celebrated an almost doubling of his vote, from 8,558 in 2010 to 16,312.

He said afterwards: "I congratulate the winner but I do regret that the voice of Newry & Armagh will continue not to be heard where it should be heard, in the House (of Commons).

"On behalf of the Ulster Unionist party, the Ulster Unionists are not only very firmly in business in Newry & Armagh, but it's back in business in the House of Commons."

The SDLP's Justin McNulty praised his team for its "heroic effort" after polling 12,026 votes, and said his first general election was a foundation from which his party can build on.

Alliance candidate Kate Nichol was clearly delighted just to have taken part in the general election experience. She polled 841 votes.

In her speech, she said: "I would like to congratulate Mickey for winning and every candidate who stood in the election as it's not an easy thing to do, but it was a fantastic experience."

Conservative Party candidate Robert Rigby, who came last on 210, was defiant to the end despite his woeful showing.

He said: "We fielded 16 candidates against 18 constituencies, so our intention is to build on this and keep the momentum going for the Conservatives in Northern Ireland."

Belfast Telegraph


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