Belfast Telegraph

Kearney well out in front as Girvan squeezes through

South Antrim

By Victoria Leonard

The last election may only have taken place 10 months ago, but a lot has changed in the constituency of South Antrim.

In May 2016 Paul Girvan was celebrating after topping the poll, accompanied by party colleagues Pam Cameron and Trevor Clarke. Now the DUP's total first preference vote share has dropped by 3.8%.

Mr Clarke lost his seat while Mr Girvan and Ms Cameron were the last two candidates to be declared on the eighth count.

Instead, the day belonged to Sinn Fein, the UUP and Alliance.

Republican Declan Kearney topped the poll with 6,891 first preference votes. In his victor's speech, Mr Kearney pledged that there would be no return to the "failed status quo from which we have emerged".

The UUP's Steve Aiken, the man tipped by some to succeed Mike Nesbitt, clinched the second highest amount of first preference votes.

Also celebrating was former Alliance leader and ex-Justice Minister David Ford. Alliance saw its first preference vote share grow by 3.6%, with Mr Ford achieving 5,278 (12.5%) first preference votes.

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