South Tyrone has been left with Sinn Fein’s Michelle Gildernew as the only locally elected candidate joining four Fermanagh MLAs in the new Stormont Assembly.
Now the only female MLA still standing from the first Assembly in 1998, Ms Gildernew joins party colleagues Jemma Dolan and Sean Lynch, as well as the DUP’s Arlene Foster, who topped the poll, and the UUP’s Rosemary Barton.
There was a major blow to the DUP and Dungannon politics with the loss of party chairman Maurice Morrow, who failed to regain his seat. Lord Morrow had held the post since devolution began in 1998.
Speaking after her election, Gildernew warned that a change was needed at the Assembly.
She said: “Nineteen years after the Good Friday Agreement, this is not what we signed up for. We need a change of atmosphere up at the Hill. We have a huge amount of work to do with our new leader in the North, Michelle O’Neill.”
She also said it was a huge honour to be representing the people of Fermanagh and South Tyrone.
It was a long and uncertain wait for the candidates on Friday and Saturday morning.
Foster was elected at the second stage, with 8,745 votes, followed by Gildernew and Dolan at the third stage with 9,385 and 8,928 votes. Lynch and Barton were elected at stage four, with Morrow falling short with just 7,411 votes.