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At a glance: Winners and losers of historic Northern Ireland Assembly election

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Kate Nicholl celebrates as Clare Bailey is edged out in South Belfast

Kate Nicholl celebrates as Clare Bailey is edged out in South Belfast

Alliance Party leader Naomi Long (left) with the party's new MLA for North Antrim Patricia O'Lynn

Alliance Party leader Naomi Long (left) with the party's new MLA for North Antrim Patricia O'Lynn

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Danny Baker

Danny Baker

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Cathy Mason (right)

Cathy Mason (right)

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Kate Nicholl (centre)

Kate Nicholl (centre)

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Alliance's Eoin Tennyson

Alliance's Eoin Tennyson

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Independent MLA Alex Easton

Independent MLA Alex Easton

Stephen Hamilton/Presseye

UUP's Tom Elliott

UUP's Tom Elliott

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DUP candidate Peter Weir

DUP candidate Peter Weir

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Nichola Mallon (left) and Dolores Kelly (right) from the SDLP

Nichola Mallon (left) and Dolores Kelly (right) from the SDLP

Green Party leader Claire Bailey

Green Party leader Claire Bailey

DUP’s Mervyn Storey

DUP’s Mervyn Storey

Stephen Hamilton/Presseye

Roy Beggs

Roy Beggs

The SDLP's Dolores Kelly

The SDLP's Dolores Kelly

UUP’s Rosemary Barton (centre)

UUP’s Rosemary Barton (centre)

Sorcha Eastwood

Sorcha Eastwood

Diane Forsythe

Diane Forsythe

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Philip Brett

Philip Brett

Pat Catney.

Pat Catney.

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Kate Nicholl celebrates as Clare Bailey is edged out in South Belfast

In a seismic and historic Northern Ireland Assembly election which has changed the political landscape of Northern Ireland, we take a look at the biggest winners and losers.

WINNERS

Danny Baker, Sinn Fein

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Danny Baker

Danny Baker

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Danny Baker

Former Belfast Lord Mayor Danny Baker eased to victory in Belfast West. After being co-opted onto Belfast City Council in 2017, Mr Baker became Lord Mayor when John Finucane was elected as MP for North Belfast in December 2019. Sinn Fein chose Mr Baker to run in the Assembly elections after Assembly Speaker Alex Maskey announced his retirement.

 Cathy Mason, Sinn Fein 

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Cathy Mason (right)

Cathy Mason (right)

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Cathy Mason (right)

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Former Chairperson of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Cathy Mason, replaces Emma Rogan in the South Down constituency for Sinn Fein. First elected to local government in 2019, Ms Mason prioritised mental health and fought for acute services to be retained and enhanced in Downpatrick.

Kate Nicholl, Alliance

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Kate Nicholl (centre)

Kate Nicholl (centre)

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Kate Nicholl (centre)

Current Belfast Lord Mayor Kate Nicholl was the picture of happiness when she secured her seat in South Belfast. The heavily pregnant Alliance woman said she was worried about “giving birth” with all the excitement. She is also Stormont’s first MLA to have been born in Zimbabwe. Her election came at the expense of Green Party leader Clare Bailey.

Patricia O’Lynn, Alliance

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Alliance Party leader Naomi Long (left) with the party's new MLA for North Antrim Patricia O'Lynn

Alliance Party leader Naomi Long (left) with the party's new MLA for North Antrim Patricia O'Lynn

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Alliance Party leader Naomi Long (left) with the party's new MLA for North Antrim Patricia O'Lynn

It was a double historic win for Patricia O’Lynn as she became the first female MLA for North Antrim and also the first Alliance Party member to win a seat in the constituency, In what showed a significant shift of power Ms O’Lynn was the fifth and final person elected after a surge of transfers which saw her overtake the DUP in the final run-in.

Eoin Tennyson, Alliance 

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Alliance's Eoin Tennyson

Alliance's Eoin Tennyson

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Alliance's Eoin Tennyson

The Alliance Party’s Eoin Tennyson became the first non-designated politician to represent Upper Bann after squeezing in ahead of Sinn Fein’s Liam Mackle. Mr Tennyson, who has been a councillor for Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council since 2019, was subjected to abusive phone calls and was told to leave a “Protestant area” of Lurgan during his election canvass.

Sorcha Eastwood, Alliance

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Sorcha Eastwood

Sorcha Eastwood

Sorcha Eastwood

Sorcha Eastwood continued the Alliance Party’s strong performance at the election after securing the Lagan Valley seat. Ms Eastwood has been a councillor at Lisburn and Castlereagh since 2019 and had stood unsuccessfully for the Westminster seat at the last general election before her latest success at the Assembly election.

Alex Easton, Independent

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Independent MLA Alex Easton

Independent MLA Alex Easton

Stephen Hamilton/Presseye

Independent MLA Alex Easton

Former DUP MLA Alex Easton said topping the poll in North Down was especially sweet after being “liberated” from his old party. “I'm over the moon,” he said. On his gamble to quit the DUP paying off, he added: “I've lost a lot of friends and made a lot of new friends. It's been quite an emotional rollercoaster.” He also made it clear he has no intention of going back to the DUP.

Diane Forsythe, DUP

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Diane Forsythe

Diane Forsythe

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Diane Forsythe

Diane Forsythe made history with her victory in the South Down seat, becoming the the area’s first female unionist MLA. Ms Forsythe had faced a difficult campaign with the police called in after false misogynistic material was being circulated. Following her victory, the 38-year-old accountant and mother of three told the Belfast Telegraph she was "delighted” to have got through in the seat.

Philip Brett, DUP

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Philip Brett

Philip Brett

Philip Brett

Newcomer to the Assembly Philip Brett was one of two DUP MLAs elected in North Belfast, achieving success at the first time of standing for Stormont. The former aide to Lord Dodds holds a seat on Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council and is considered one of the DUP’s most liberal figures.

Tom Elliott, UUP

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UUP's Tom Elliott

UUP's Tom Elliott

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UUP's Tom Elliott

The vastly experienced Tom Elliott made a triumphant return to politics after his election in Fermanagh and South Tyrone. The former leader of the UUP was an MLA for the constituency from 2003 until 2015, and MP from 2015 to 2017. Despite taking the seat from his running mate Rosemary Barton, the UUP will be pleased to his Mr Elliott’s return to frontline politics.

LOSERS

Nichola Mallon, SDLP 

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Nichola Mallon (left) and Dolores Kelly (right) from the SDLP

Nichola Mallon (left) and Dolores Kelly (right) from the SDLP

Nichola Mallon (left) and Dolores Kelly (right) from the SDLP

 The SDLP, and Nichola Mallon herself, has been left stunned by its deputy leader’s failure to get re-elected in Belfast North. Despite her impressive tenure as Infrastructure Minister, Ms Mallon only secured 3,604 first preference votes and is yet another high-profile casualty of the Alliance surge in Northern Ireland. Ms Mallon represented the constituency from 2016 and is a former Lord Mayor of Belfast.

Clare Bailey, Green Party

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Green Party leader Claire Bailey

Green Party leader Claire Bailey

Green Party leader Claire Bailey

Green Party leader Clare Bailey thanked her supporters as she lost her seat in South Belfast. Ms Bailey became leader of the Green Party NI in November 2018. She was elected to South Belfast in 2016, making her Belfast’s first ever Green MLA. Among her notable work was the introduction of the Climate Change Bill ensuring climate change legislation for NI.

Pat Catney, SDLP

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Pat Catney.

Pat Catney.

Pat Catney.

One of Stormont's larger personalities will no longer sit on the benches, after Pat Catney failed to repeat his 2017 success in Lagan Valley. Mr Catney’s time in the last Assembly was notable last year for his work on a bill addressing period poverty which he introduced and was ultimately passed making which provides free period products in various settings including schools.

Peter Weir, DUP 

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DUP candidate Peter Weir

DUP candidate Peter Weir

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DUP candidate Peter Weir

A former education minister, Peter Weir was one of the longest serving MLAs at Stormont, having been elected in 1998. He was originally an MLA for North Down, before being moved to Strangford in 2017. Mr Weir was first elected to the Assembly as an Ulster Unionist MLA, before switching to the DUP in 2002.

Mervyn Storey, DUP

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DUP’s Mervyn Storey

DUP’s Mervyn Storey

Stephen Hamilton/Presseye

DUP’s Mervyn Storey

A stalwart of the DUP, Mervyn Storey has held his seat in North Antrim since 2003 and was a former Social Development and Finance minister.

The result was one of the biggest shocks to the party and in the traditional DUP heartland. Since 2020, Mervyn has been the Chairperson on the Assembly and Executive Review Committee. Mr Storey was overtaken by the Alliance’s Patricia O’Lynn. 

Roy Beggs, UUP

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Roy Beggs

Roy Beggs

Roy Beggs

For the first time since East Antrim was created as a constituency in 1983, there will nobody from the Beggs family representing the area at either Stormont or Westminster. Ulster Unionist Roy Beggs Jr, a former Stormont deputy speaker and party stalwart, was eliminated early in the voting process for the constituency, which covers the coastal towns of Carrickfergus and Larne. Mr Beggs had been his party’s longest serving MLA, having held the seat since 1998.

Dolores Kelly, SDLP

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The SDLP's Dolores Kelly

The SDLP's Dolores Kelly

The SDLP's Dolores Kelly

There were hugs and tears as the SDLP stalwart Dolores Kelly lost her seat in Upper Bann. She was excluded in stage 3 of the count on Friday afternoon. She represented the constituency between 2003 and 2016 and was then re-elected in 2017. Dolores was the SDLP spokesperson on policing and was also a member of the Policing Board.

Rosemary Barton, UUP

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UUP’s Rosemary Barton (centre)

UUP’s Rosemary Barton (centre)

UUP’s Rosemary Barton (centre)

A former school teacher, Rosemary Barton, who lost out in Fermanagh-South Tyrone, was elected to Stormont in 2016. She was the UUP’s sole female MLA in the last mandate. However, the decision to field two UUP candidates in the constituency this time proved costly, with former leader Tom Elliott taking the UUP seat.

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