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East Belfast: Bunting flies high, and Long climbs Hill again

By Staff Reporter

Published 09/05/2016

Joanne Bunting celebrates
Joanne Bunting celebrates

The DUP's Joanne Bunting and Alliance's Naomi Long captured the headlines in East Belfast, cantering home as poll-toppers.

But almost unnoticed at the bottom, a politician who saddled up for his first election race 50 years ago fell at the first hurdle. Spectacularly.

Erskine Holmes, who was wearing the colours of the new Northern Ireland Labour Representation Committee, mustered only 78 votes and could only watch as his old Queen's University Labour ally Eamonn McCann crossed the finishing line in Foyle.

In 1966 civil rights activist Mr Holmes was an impressive second in South Belfast in the Westminster election for the Northern Ireland Labour Party, and became a regular electoral candidate.

Mrs Long's return to the political arena was made even sweeter with the eventual election of one of her running mates, Chris Lyttle.

He and the other three successful candidates - Sammy Douglas and Robin Newton of the DUP, and Afghan war veteran Andy Allen of the UUP - only reached their quotas in the wee small hours of Saturday morning.

Mr Douglas had breathed a sigh of relief when it was announced the count would go on through the night - as he didn't want to miss his beloved Linfield FC playing in the Irish Cup final against rivals Glenavon on Saturday afternoon.

However, it was the Lurgan Blues who were returned almost unopposed as the winners at Windsor Park on a scoreline of 2-0.

Belfast Telegraph

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