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North Belfast: As dust settles, parading issue back on agenda

By Staff Reporter

Published 09/05/2016

Nelson McCausland
Nelson McCausland

There is little change in North Belfast with the DUP holding three seats, Sinn Fein two and the SDLP one.

It was a long, drawn-out process after republican veteran Gerry Kelly was elected in the first count on Friday afternoon. He received 5,695 votes in the constituency, where the quota was 5,225.

The other five candidates - the DUP's Paula Bradley, William Humphrey and Nelson McCausland, SDLP's Nichola Mallon and Sinn Fein's Caral Ni Chuilin - were not elected until count 11.

The UUP had hoped Rev Lesley Carroll would regain the seat narrowly lost in 2011 by Fred Cobain. However, she was eliminated at the 10th stage of counting. Following his quick election, Mr Kelly said his focus in the next term of the Assembly will be health, education and jobs.

With its peace walls and Troubles legacy, North Belfast is a tense constituency.

And with the marching season already under way, parading is a major issue.

Mr Kelly said he was committed to finding a resolution to the contentious issue.

"We want parading resolved. If you look back over the last few years it has improved despite the publicity," he said.

Mr McCausland said he also wanted the parading issue resolved. "We need to create a shared society," he said.

"We have always wanted a resolution.

"Unfortunately, there are elements in Ardoyne so extreme they are only interested in confrontation."

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