Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Sinn Fein holds power base

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland -Monday 5th May 2011 - Picture by Jonathan Porter/ - Counting starts at different count centers across Northern Ireland after voters went to the polls yesterday to elect new members for the Stormont Assembly and local councils. Voters are also took part in the referendum regarding the way Westminster MPs are elected. Left to right. Sinn Fein's Mary Lou McDonald, Gerry Adams and Pat Sheehan pictured at the Kings Hall.

Gerry Adams may have quit frontline politics in Northern Ireland but his Midas touch lives on in west Belfast.

There were no surprises in Sinn Fein's hub in the republican quarter of the city, taking back five of the six seats in their most loyal constituency.

His successor Pat Sheehan said it was a historic day with the party delivering a blow to pundits who claimed it could not be sustained for a second term.

Undetermined with his low number of first preference votes, he said it was the party's strategy that he would poll last.

Mr Adams arrived in the King’s Hall count centre on Friday to cheers fit for the return of a local hero.

But the party's new poll topper Paul Maskey insisted he wasn't stepping into his place, stressing that Sinn Fein was about community above personality.

SDLP's Alex Attwood, meanwhile, was finally elected to retain his seat in the Assembly on the 10th count.

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