Belfast Telegraph

General Election 2019

Newry and Armagh: Sinn Fein's Mickey Brady says border constituency 'rejected Brexit'

  • Eligible electorate: 81,226
  • Votes polled: 51,120
  • Valid votes: 50,779
  • Turnout: 62.94%
  • Majority: 9,287​

By Mark McConville

Mickey Brady hailed a “very good night” for Sinn Fein after he was re-elected as MP for Newry and Armagh.

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Mr Brady topped the polls with 20,287 votes and enjoyed a huge majority of 9,287 over nearest challenger, William Irwin of the DUP who finished with 11,000 votes.

The Newry and Armagh result was the last to be announced in a freezing cold Magherafelt count centre but Mr Brady’s supporters stuck around to cheer on his victory.

Mr Brady said that the people of Northern Ireland had “very clearly reiterated” their previous vote from the referendum that Brexit is “not acceptable”.

“Newry and Armagh have spoken, Brexit has been rejected,” he added.

“The remain parties are in the ascendancy. Brexit, as far as we are concerned is a non-runner.

“It's going to have an extremely detrimental effect in the north and particularly in the constituency that I represent, Newry and Armagh.

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“It is a border constituency and the second largest constituency which we run from Killean on the border right to the Moy.

“It's a constituency that will be greatly affected by Brexit in terms of single-farm payments for farmers, the whole issue around the voluntary sector, all of the Peace123 interreg money that has done a great deal for our constituency.

“If you think about the agriculture sector jobs which have been created through European money and a lot of money has come in through the constituency.

"I don't think anyone for a moment believes that any British government, particularly the one that has been elected tonight, will do anything to ensure that we have prosperity.

“I will work very hard to ensure that the people of Newry and Armagh have a bright and positive future.”

Sinn Fein's Mickey Brady(centre) is returned as MP for Newry and Armagh. Photo by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye.

Mr Brady also said that a united Ireland is now “very much a project” while also urging for Stormont to return.

“The whole issue around unity is no longer an aspiration,” he said.

“It has very much become a project. It is something that I will look forward to and will work very hard to achieve.

“I think it is extremely important and urgent that Stormont talks resume and come to a conclusion.

“I would reiterate that the status quo cannot be returned to. There must be a different Stormont, one that is sustainable. There has to be one with parity of esteem and one with equality.”

In what is considered a safe seat for Sinn Fein, a voter turnout of 62.94% returned Mr Brady for the third consecutive election. He had replaced Sinn Fein colleague Conor Murphy in 2015, who had held it for 10 years.

The seat was originally held by Jim Nicholson of the UUP in 1983 before he resigned in 1985 in protest at the Anglo-Irish Agreement.

The SDLP’s Seamus Mallon then held it from 1986, following a by-election, until 2005 when it was conceded to Sinn Fein.

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