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May 07, 2005

Adams Humbled By Win

News About Ireland & The Irish

BT 05/07/05 Adams 'Humbled' By His West Belfast Win
SF 05/07/05 Adams: Opportunity For Progress Must Now Be Seized
BT 05/07/05 McGuinness Triumphant, But A Certain Something Missing
BT 05/07/05 Cheers And Jeers As Gildernew Wins
BT 05/07/05 SF's Newest MP Knows It's A Tough Act To Follow
BB 05/07/05 Sinn Fein Win Newry And Armagh
BT 05/07/05 Doherty Takes W Tyrone & Pledges Health A Priority
BT 05/07/05 Durkan Defies The Doubters To Coast Home
BT 05/07/05 McGrady Races Ahead Of SF In South Down
BT 05/07/05 We're Not Going To Go Away You Know
IO 05/07/05 McDonnell To Focus On Restoring Devolution
BT 05/07/05 Trimble Blame Republicans & Considers Future
BB 05/07/05 Trimble: 'No Escape For Political Houdini'
BT 05/07/05 Lone Stand For Victorious Ulster Unionist Hermon
UT 05/07/05 Burnside Unhappy At Loss
BT 05/07/05 Big Man Romps Home To Record Another Victory
BT 05/07/05 Trimble Toppled As Simpson Seals Upper Bann Win
BT 05/07/05 Donaldson Switch Brings A Landslide
BT 05/07/05 Iris Romps Home To Victory In Strangford
BT 05/07/05 Dodds Hails NBelfast Poll Result A Resounding Victory
BT 05/07/05 Empey Warns Triumphant Robinson Over Commons
BT 05/07/05 Campbell Makes Very Good Fist Of Defending Seat
BT 05/07/05 Burnside Falls As McCrea Triumphs In South Antrim
BT 05/07/05 Wilson On Way To Westminster
BT 05/07/05 Viewpoint: Still Only One Way Forward
BT 05/07/05 New Green Peak In Ulster
BT 05/07/05 Opin: A Vacuum Theory To Take In The Suckers?
BT 05/07/05 Analysis: The Fall Of Unionism
BT 05/07/05 Unionists Torn Apart
BT 05/07/05 How The Paisley Pattern Was To Become Fashion Of The Day
BT 05/07/05 The Winners: The New Voices At Westminster


Adams 'Humbled' By His West Belfast Win

By Andrea Clements
07 May 2005

NO big surprises were revealed in west Belfast, the first
constituency to declare its results, with Gerry Adams taking
70% of the vote.

The Sinn Fein leader said it was "a proud and humbling day" for
him when it was revealed 24,348 people had voted for him.
Turnout in West Belfast was around 64%, down about 4.5%
since four years ago.

It was a good day for the DUP which claimed over 1,000 more
votes on the last Westminster poll at the expense of the UUP
which claimed a mere 779 votes, down, 4% on 2001.

Support for the SDLP decreased by over 4%, losing over 2,700

A media scrum developed with Mr Adams arrival to Belfast City
Hall, possibly due to his constituency being the first to finish

On the platform Mr Adams took the opportunity to hit out at the
photo ID required to vote, an issue he said to which the party
would return to.

"It's very important people have a choice," he said, adding that
people in West Belfast had been nothing short of "smashing" in
their support for him.

He claimed he would represent, not just republicans but
everyone in the constituency.

"I will represent those who voted against us and those who
didn't vote at all."

The SDLP's Alex Attwood congratulated Mr Adams' "powerful
vote and powerful mandate".

He added that he wished more people had come out to vote, but
said the real issue for the future was that everyone was a

He said the largest challenge political parties faced was
rebuilding, rather than diminishing the Good Friday agreement.

Diane Dodds said she believed her party was "representative of
traditional unionism" and the increase in support for her party
was "tremendous".

"I'm sure you will see that replicated throughout Northern
Ireland today," she added.

She claimed some DUP voters in Suffolk had found it difficult to
cast their vote and said issues needed to be resolved.

The UUP's Chris McGimpsey did not take the opportunity to
speak on the platform.


Adams: Opportunity For Progress Must Now Be Seized

Published: 7 May, 2005

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP has thanked all those who
voted for Sinn Féin returning it as the largest pro-Agreement
and largest nationalist party. He said 'the opportunity for
progress must now be seized. We want to see a return to the
talks as quickly as possible.'

Mr. Adams said:

"Sinn Féin went into this election seeking an endorsement of
our peace strategy and in particular of our initiative to get the
process back on track

"Despite months of disgraceful, dishonest and negative
campaigning by the establishment against our party, 174,530
people came out yesterday and endorsed this strategy.

Sinn Féin support has increased across the North - in
constituencies where MPs were returned - Newry/Armagh, Mid
Ulster, Fermanagh/South Tyrone, West Tyrone and West Belfast
and in areas such as South Down, Foyle, Upper Bann and North
Antrim. We have been returned as the largest pro Agreement
party and the largest nationalist party. The message is clear -
people want to see progress and they want to see Sinn Féin
leading that change.

"There is a huge responsibility on us but there is also a huge
responsibility on the DUP and on the two governments.

"The opportunity for progress must now be seized. We want to
see a return to the talks as quickly as possible to get the Good
Friday Agreement implemented and the political institutions


McGuinness Triumphant, But A Certain Something Missing...

By Paddy McGuffin
07 May 2005

THE Mid-Ulster Count at Templemore Sports Complex in
Londonderry was seen by many as a foregone conclusion.

In the event, however, it turned out to be anything but.

Strong favourite for the seat, Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness,
eventually topped the poll, but there were fraught scenes in the
build-up to the declaration when in excess of 3,000 votes went

The count, which had proceeded at a slow pace, was
temporarily derailed when it emerged that two ballot boxes
containing several thousand votes had been returned to the
depot on the Letterkenny Road in error by the Electoral Office's
courier service.

Candidates and the assembled media were kept in limbo, and
fears grew that a final count would not be declared last night.

A frantic search unearthed the errant ballots, and finally, at
around 10pm, a declaration was made.

A red-faced Electoral Office worker explained: "The ballots
were never out of the possession of the Electoral Office and
were found in a lorry that had collected empty ballot boxes.

"Two boxes were lifted in error."

She added that an independent observer had been present
when the boxes were found and they had not been opened.

When normality was finally resumed, Mr McGuinness
addressed the crowd, which at that point consisted mainly of
the media.

"There was an unfortunate circumstance, but that should not
take away the achievement," he said.

"The people of Mid-Ulster have honoured me. They are a people
who have suffered much over the years. I would like to pay
tribute to each and every voter and our election team, which is
second to none.

" I am an Irish republican and the people of Mid-Ulster are Irish
republicans, and they want their Irishness recognised and the
Good Friday Agreement implemented. This result fits in with the
Sinn Fein results all over the North. We are now the largest
nationalist party in the North."

Neither unionist candidate stayed to hear the official
declaration, leaving the platform to Sinn Fein and the SDLP.


Cheers And Jeers As Gildernew Wins

Unionist split sees Sinn Fein returned

By Clare Weir
07 May 2005

CHEERING and heckling followed the declaration of the
Fermanagh/South Tyrone count as Michelle Gildernew again
topped the poll.

The heavily pregnant Sinn Fein candidate won through at
Omagh Leisure Centre, but with 1,000 votes less than at the
2001 Westminster election.

Speaking following the announcement, she said she was
humbled to accept victory the day after the 24th anniversary of
Bobby Sands' death.

She declared: "When the media, politicians and other
governments go against us, I remember that it is the Irish
people that have backed us yet again."

On formally conceding the seat, former Ulster Unionist-turned-
DUP candidate Arlene Foster was roundly heckled by Sinn Fein

However, she gave as good as she got, slamming both her Sinn
Fein counterpart and her former party.

"It is frustrating for the people of Fermanagh and South Tyrone
that we again have an absentee MP," she said.

"The leadership of the Ulster Unionist party went down a road
of 'anybody but Arlene' - well, they got Michelle Gildernew."

She also berated her hecklers in the crowd as "mannerless",
adding: "If you think you can bully me, think again."

Ms Foster also invited disillusioned Ulster Unionists to follow
her lead.

"The DUP is there with a warm welcome for anyone who shares
the confidence of democratic unionism," she said, declaring
she would be back to secure the seat for unionists in four

The UUP's Thomas Elliot saw his party's vote slashed in half
from 2001, while the SDLP's Tommy Gallagher surely had the
blaring horns of Sinn Fein's impromptu car park cavalcade
ringing in his ears as he trailed behind the pack.


Sinn Fein's Newest MP Knows It's A Tough Act To Follow

By Michael McHugh
07 May 2005

CHEERS greeted Sinn Fein's victory in Newry and Armagh
yesterday as the party's Conor Murphy took the seat by a
convincing majority.

Mr Murphy defeated his SDLP rival Dominic Bradley by 8,000
votes and said it was a resounding endorsement of Sinn Fein's
peace strategy.

The news was met with raucous applause by supporters in
Banbridge leisure centre, where the count was held.

The Sinn Fein man looked delighted as he addressed
supporters and the media in the far-from-grand surroundings of
a basketball court.

Declared shortly after 8pm, the result had never been in much
doubt, and Mr Murphy insisted that other parties needed to
recognise Sinn Fein's mandate.

"I think it sends out a message that people are endorsing Sinn
Fein's peace strategy. The people have been encouraging us all
along and the message is the same right across the North," he

"If the unionist community are voting for the DUP then we are
happy to respect that mandate, all we ask is for the DUP to
respect our own."

Mr Murphy said his party would be pressing for representation
in the Dail, and added that he was willing to work for peace.

The seat was won by Mr Murphy with 20,965 votes over the
SDLP's 12,770, a turnaround from the last Westminster election,
which Seamus Mallon won convincingly, but representing an
increased vote on the 2003 Assembly elections.

Mr Bradley added that he wanted to pay tribute to his
predecessor, who he described as a "colossus".

He said that Seamus Mallon had been one of the architects of
the Agreement, and insisted that the SDLP had not given up on
winning back Newry and Armagh.

Paul Berry won the battle for the unionist electorate, with 9,311
to Danny Kennedy's 7,025.

He had arrived at the count centre to be mobbed by the media
after recent allegations about his private life, but he said the
controversy had not affected his vote.

For his part, Mr Kennedy described the day as a "black Friday"
for Ulster Unionism.


Sinn Fein Win Newry And Armagh

Sinn Fein has taken the Newry and Armagh seat from the SDLP.
Conor Murphy defeated its candidate, Dominic Bradley, by
20,965 votes to 12,770.

The seat had been held by former SDLP deputy leader Seamus
Mallon who stepped down this time.

The defeat is softened by an SDLP gain in South Belfast for
Alasdair McDonnell and the success of party leader Mark
Durkan in Foyle.

Sinn Fein has finished in the election with a total of five seats.

The SDLP's candidate Dominic Bradley is a former teacher with
strong GAA connections.

But there were clues about how he might do from his
performance in the Assembly election of 2003 when his first
preference vote was about half the size of Conor Murphy's.

The gap between the two parties had begun to narrow in 2001
when Sinn Fein trailed the SDLP by only 6%.

This was a rise of 10% on the 1997 result.

The DUP's Paul Berry was in third place in Friday's poll with
9,311 votes.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/05/06 19:10:49 GMT


Doherty Takes West Tyrone And Pledges Health Will Be A Priority

Single issue candidate Deaney doubles vote

By Clare Weir
07 May 2005

FOR doctor Kieran Deaney finishing second to Sinn Fein's Pat
Doherty was no bitter pill to swallow.

In fact he seemed delighted to have doubled his assembly tally
of over 6,000 votes.

The single issue candidate whose sole purpose for standing
was the salvation of acute services at Tyrone County Hospital
was gracious in defeat.

He praised Mr Doherty for pledging to do all in his power to
preserve the facility.

"There is no bigger issue than that of health." said Mr Doherty.

"It is a credit to all parties that we have worked together on this
issue and will continue to campaign for acute services to be

The doctor acknowledged that he faced a difficult campaign but
hailed the influence of people power.

"We were trying to do something for the people of West Tyrone
and we took on a heck of a challenge," he said. "The votes are
verification that we have very serious issues here and I thank
Pat for mentioning that. I am saying to parties in your battles do
not forget the issues affecting the people. This huge issue in
the biggest county of the six will not go away."

SDLP man Eugene McMenamin saw his party's votes drop by

But after his party's other successes he joked: "We haven't
gone away you know."

Earlier in the day Ulster Unionist Derek Hussey saw party
colleagues fail to retain seats and seemed resigned to see a
shocking fall of 11,000 votes for the UUP in this constituency.

In acknowledging his defeat he bizarrely compared himself to
Davy Crockett at the Alamo.

Thomas Buchanan, a first time candidate for the DUP, followed
colleague Arlene Foster in berating Mr Doherty. "You'll never be
in government," he said.

But only time will tell if his party's determination to keep out
Sinn Fein will last.


Durkan Defies The Doubters To Coast Home

By Sarah Brett
07 May 2005

SDLP leader Mark Durkan confounded critics and Sinn Fein
alike with a landslide victory in the nationalist heartland of

Weeks of speculation that this Westminster seat would be the
most tightly fought in Northern Ireland ended early yesterday
evening when it became clear that Mr Durkan was polling
significantly ahead of his arch rival, Mitchel McLaughlin.

But the 5,957 majority by which he eventually clinched the seat
went beyond many expectations.

However, a defiant Mr Durkan told reporters: "We said all along
that we would win this seat and that we would win it with a
more comfortable margin than anybody was predicting.

"We were right - the pundits were wrong."

Despite his protestations, the foundations of John Hume's
stronghold - or 'Fortress Foyle' as it is sometimes called -
looked to be on shaky ground after the 2003 Assembly
elections, when around 10,000 SDLP voters stayed at home.

But the party beat Sinn Fein at its own game on the campaign
trail this time, and mobilised the sleeping electorate to give Mr
Durkan around 46% of the total votes cast.

A visibly crestfallen Mr McLaughlin was magnanimous in defeat
during an emotionally-charged round of podium speeches by
the five key candidates.

Congratulating Mr Durkan, he said: "It was a quite remarkable

"The party defended their seat and they defended it fiercely,
and that's what I would have expected."

Off-stage, he claimed that tactical voting by unionists had
contributed to stopping him winning the seat.

Although party number-crunching is not yet conclusive, it is not
believed that this 'vote lending' had any significant effect.

Mr Durkan commented: "We won this election on a bedrock of
solid SDLP, nationalist votes".

Elsewhere, the province-wide demise of the UUP was also
evident in Foyle, with Socialist Environmental Alliance
Candidate and civil rights champion Eamon McCann squeezing
out the UUP's Earl Storey to make his party the fourth most
popular in the constituency.

DUP candidate William Hay polled just shy of 1,000 votes less
than his Westminster performance in 2001.

Ben Reel of the Vote For Yourself Rainbow Dream Ticket
garnered 31 votes.

But on a rain-soaked evening in the heartland of nationalism, it
was all about Mr Durkan's triumphant retention of the seat his
mentor John Hume held for almost a quarter-of-a-century.

Returning officer Patricia Murphy's announcement after the 10-
hour count was met with unsuppressed jubilation from Mr
Durkan's party colleagues, family and supporters.

"We learned the lesson of previous elections," Mr Durkan told
his followers and the media.

"We worked harder, we worked stronger, we fought harder, we
were hungrier for votes, we got our stay-at-home vote back out.

"All the people who voted for me know they'll have an MP who'll
serve them well, all the people who didn't vote for me will have
also an MP who will serve them well."


McGrady Races Ahead Of SF In South Down

By Deborah McAleese
07 May 2005

THE grand old man of SDLP politics Eddie McGrady easily
brushed aside Sinn Fein's bright young star Catriona Ruane in
South Down last night.

As predicted Mr McGrady emerged triumphant to the cheers of
supporters at Dromore Leisure Centre after securing almost
45% of the votes.

With almost 22,000 votes it was an easy victory for Mr McGrady
who outpolled Miss Ruane by more than 9,000.

Before the results were announced tempers became frayed
resulting in an angry exchange between Miss Ruane and some
SDLP members.

Mr McGrady has clearly widened the gap between the two
nationalist parties in South Down as in the 2003 assembly
elections he won by only 4,000 votes.

The surprise of the evening was the DUP's Jim Wells who
secured an extra 1,000 votes from the 2001 elections and is
believed to have outpolled the UUP in the Mourne area by 4-1
and 2-1 in Ballynahinch.

The UUP's Dermott Nesbitt lost almost half his votes but it is
believed this was due to tactical voting by Unionists to keep
Sinn Fein out.

Eddie McGrady said, "This is a tremendous victory for the
SDLP in South Down and today is a tremendous victory for the
SDLP in Derry and Belfast. We're on the march again.

"This society is currently caught up in a picture of extremism.
We in the SDLP are the only ones to stand in the way of that.

"We will get that new Ireland not by force but by the consent of
and working together with the people of Northern Ireland.

"I am proud to be elected to serve the people of South Down
because they are the best people in the North."

Catriona Ruane said: "It has been a long but wonderful
campaign and I really enjoyed every minute of it.

"Sinn Fein is now stronger, we have increased our votes, we
are on the rise and we are going forward. There is no stopping

"I will continue to work for all those who voted for me and my
door is always open for those who did not.

"Sinn Fein wants a fair and just society where everyone's
human rights are respected." she added.


We're Not Going To Go Away You Know

McDonnell defiant as SDLP take shock South Belfast win

By Brian Hutton
07 May 2005

TUMULTUOUS applause greeted the historic election of the
SDLP's Alasdair McDonnell to the Westminster seat for South

It was a noisy and prolonged outburst of relief for members and
supporters of the party, whose demise was widely predicted in
these polls.

But this wasn't just a significant gain and much needed morale
boost for the SDLP.

It was also the first time ever that a nationalist has been elected
to represent the traditionally middle-class unionist

The result came courtesy of a split in the unionist vote after the
UUP and the DUP ruled out an electoral pact.

Both parties refused to stand aside for the other in the
challenge for the seat held since 1982 by the outgoing MP the
UUP's Rev Martin Smyth.

It was the seat everybody was waiting to hear about it in
Belfast's City Hall where counting was also under way for the
city's three other more predictable constituencies.

When Mr McDonnell, with his young son in his arms, stepped
out first from the Great Hall where the count had concluded at
around 4pm, he was mobbed by scores of impatient journalists.

Under a barrage of questions he pushed his way through the
cameras and microphones along the corridors to the oak-
panelled Banqueting Hall where the returning officer would
formally announce his win.

Taking to the podium Mr McDonnell said the result was a very
clear message from the electorate that "tribal politics is not the
only way forward."

"On behalf of the people of hope everywhere I thank you the
people of South Belfast," he said.

The sense of elation was palpable from the gathered SDLP
faithful, among them Alex Attwood MLA and former West
Belfast MP Joe Hendron.

"In this constituency the SDLP has sent a clear message to its
political opponents of all sorts that while it may be possible to
manipulate and frustrate political progress for short term
narrow advantage the SDLP is still here, still kicking, still alive,
because there is a job to do.

"We're still standing strong and we're ready to fight back for the
values of the people out there on the streets and the

The SDLP deputy leader declared that the victory meant
"people want devolution, people want an end to direct rule -
some would say misrule - people want to run our own affairs."

He continued: "I want to make it very, very clear that I will be a
Member of Parliament for everyone in South Belfast, for all the
people regardless if they voted for me or not."

He pledged to work with the other parties and the other three
MPs in Belfast on the "major task to restore this once great city
to a sense of pride and dignity that it once possessed."

The newly elected MP kissed his wife Olivia and embraced his
children Dearbhla and Ruairi as the returning officer announced
his 10,339 votes.

Although the SDLP took the seat they have dropped their vote
in the constituency by over 1000 votes since the general
election in 2001.

Sinn Fein contender Alex Maskey's vote remained almost
identical to his share four years ago.

Jimmy Spratt of the DUP, who didn't stand a candidate last time
around, launched a broadside at the UUP for rejecting an
electoral pact ahead of the poll.

He insisted that his party would be back in four years time to
reclaim the seat for unionism.

The UUP's Mr McGimpsey also pledged to fight for the seat
again and said that the result was "a lesson that Unionism will
always shoot itself in the foot."


McDonnell To Focus On Restoring Devolution

06/05/2005 - 17:38:12

Newly elected South Belfast MP Dr Alasdair McDonnell said
getting devolved government up and running again would be
one of his chief priorities.

He said: “People want an end to direct rule. They want to
control their own affairs and it beholds us all to make sure this
happens as quickly as possible.”

SDLP supporters were jubilant tonight having won the seat
which was never out of Ulster Unionist control, but the unionist
demise followed dramatically heightened tensions with each
side blaming each other for the loss.

Mr Spratt, an ex-RUC officer and former chairman of the
Northern Ireland Police Federation was clearly deeply
disappointed after failing in his first election campaign, but he
warned: “In four years time I will be back to re-claim this seat
for unionists.”

Talks had taken place between the two parties in a bid to agree
an electoral pact.

Mr McGimpsey said he too was deeply disappointed and
claimed unionism had shot itself in the foot.

He added: “The DUP deliberately intervened and handed the
seat to the SDLP. They are to blame for this because for
someone who has represented this area for 12 years I was
entitled to stand.”

Sinn Féin Alex Maskey’s 2,882 votes was slightly down on the
party’s 2001 Westminster result amid claims that his votes
suffered badly as a result of widespread criticism of republican
involvement in the murder of Robert McCartney.


Embattled Trimble Puts Blame On Republicans As He Considers

By Marie Foy
07 May 2005

EMBATTLED UUP leader David Trimble clung to his position
today as senior figures met to assess the party's meltdown at
the polls.

As senior Ulster Unionists called for his resignation, Mr Trimble
blamed republicans and the British Government for his party's

Asked whether he would step down this weekend, Mr Trimble
said: "Not this weekend, and I'm not sure what I will do, to be
quite honest. I am going to consult with colleagues.

"There is a collective leadership of the UUP. We will come to a
consensus about the way forward and take it from there."

The former First Minister told BBC Radio 4's Today programme
that the underlying cause of his party's woes was that the
republican movement had not implemented the Good Friday

"If they had implemented the Agreement then they would have
disarmed completely in May 2000, that is what they undertook
to do, that is what they failed to do.

"Rather than implement the Agreement, the republican
movement have exploited the Agreement.

"The net result of all of that is that there is total disgust in the
Unionist community with them."

Mr Trimble added: "A contributory factor is that the
Government, which ought to have upheld the Agreement and
policed the Agreement, has been far too indulgent to

He also said he suspected that ultimately the DUP would seek
to have the Agreement implemented in full.

Calls for Mr Trimble to resign have come from within his own
party which was left in disarray after losing four Westminster
seats to the DUP and SDLP, including his own in Upper Bann.

Senior party members were expected to hold private talks over
the weekend before assessing the results of the council
elections early next week.

It is anticipated that Assembly group members will meet on
Monday and a formal meeting of party officers is due to take
place next Friday.

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein's chief negotiator Martin McGuinness
said that there was a "mighty responsibility" on the DUP to
break the deadlock.

He added that he hoped that the IRA would respond positively
to Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams' argument that the time has
come for the pursuit of an entirely political resolution to the
conflict in the province.

"I passionately hope that the IRA will agree with Gerry Adams'
analysis and I think that that on its own, because it clearly
would be seen as a unilateral initiative by the IRA, could have
the effect that the cessation had in 1994."

In another development, the DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson
called on the government today to begin appointing DUP peers
in the House of Lords.


'No Escape For Political Houdini'

by Gareth Gordon
BBC Northern Ireland political correspondent

He used to be the Harry Houdini of Northern Ireland politics, but
David Trimble's luck finally ran out.

Now the SDLP leader, Mark Durkan, has emerged Steve
McQueen-like with an act of escapology of which Mr Trimble
would have been proud.

His was a do-or-die struggle to hold his mentor John Hume's
seat of Foyle. Victory for Sinn Fein and the SDLP could have
been finished - never mind Mr Durkan.

But to win by 6,000 votes is a result no-one could have

And with Alasdair McDonnell taking south Belfast and Eddie
McGrady easily holding off Sinn Fein in South Down, the SDLP
has escaped the guillotine in near-miraculous fashion.

But for the Ulster Unionists, it could hardly be worse.

When David Trimble became leader in 1995, the party had 10
Westminster seats to the DUP's two. Now they have just one -
North Down - to the DUP's nine.

The electorate has finally done what the party's ruling council
failed on several occasions to do - finish off David Trimble good
and proper.

But with him goes at least two figures who would have been
leaders in waiting - David Burnside who lost South Antrim to
the DUP's William McCrea - and Michael McGimpsey who failed
to take the South Belfast seat, held for more than 20 years by
Mr Trimble's anti-Agreement rival Martin Smyth.

Mr Trimble says he will take time to reflect before coming to any
decision about his future, but it is time his party probably won't
be prepared to give him.

The likelihood is that he will go, but who will succeed him, and
what can they possibly do to lead the party out of the

Lady Sylvia Hermon is now the party's only MP. She has never
shown any inclination to seek the limelight - never mind the
party leadership - but now she may have no choice.

At very least she could lead the party in the Commons with a
joint leader at home - a bit like the double act of Harry West and
James Molyneaux in the mid-70s.

Could Sir Reg Empey fit the bill? Sylvia Hermon has been
critical of him in the past but now is not the time for mulling
over past differences.

Whoever it is they have the toughest job in politics.

Not only do they have to take on the sleek machine that is the
modern DUP but they also have to rid the UUP of what one
commentator calls the ''muppetry'' which has plagued it for
several years.

What they wouldn't give to be in the same position of that other
party which was said to be in difficulties - the SDLP.

If Mr Durkan's result was remarkable so was Alasdair

The fact that he only won South Belfast because the unionist
vote was so split is something the party won't be worrying
about for the moment.

Chances are the DUP, which came so close to winning the seat
from a standing start, will now now make it its number one
target next time around.

Mr McDonnell may only have one term to enjoy the glory he
waited 28 years to claim.

Similarly, Mr McGrady, 70 in June, is likely to have defended
South Down for the final time.

Sinn Fein will be confident of taking that seat at the next
election. But for now the SDLP have bought themselves some
time and have stopped the Sinn Fein juggernaut.

They live to fight another day - the Ulster Unionists can only
hope they do as well.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/05/06 21:58:53 GMT


Lone Stand For Victorious Ulster Unionist Hermon

By Ashleigh Wallace
07 May 2005

AMID heckling from the DUP, Lady Sylvia Hermon secured the
Ulster Unionists only seat at Westminster with a majority of just
under 5,000 votes.

Around the same time as party leader David Trimble lost his
seat in Upper Bann, Lady Hermon pledged that as long as she
was standing, there would be an Ulster Unionist party.

And she said "a wonderful victory" would enable her to
represent the people who have made her "enormously proud".

As Lady Hermon was re-elected with 6,268 votes, she was
harangued by DUP supporters who taunted her about the UUP's
poor results in the rest of the province.

Raising her voice above the jeers, she said: "Isn't it nice not to
have a long goodbye from Bob McCartney.

"It's also very nice to take the smile off the faces of Mr Paisley,
Mr Robinson et al."

She thanked all those traditional Alliance and SDLP voters for
supporting her.

She added: "I say to Mr Paisley and I say to Mr Robinson - as
long as I am standing there will be an Ulster Unionist Party."

DUP candidate Peter Weir, a former colleague of Lady Hermon,
lost by 4,944 votes.

But he said election day had reinforced the DUP's position as
the only voice of unionism.

Among calls of "traitor", Mr Weir said: "If this is a glorious day
for the Ulster Unionists, I would hate to see a day when they
were suffering from defeat."

He also said that his party had reinforced its position as the
only voice of unionism "standing by its principles and the party
that does not put terrorists in government".

After DUP and UUP supporters exchanged insults, Alliance
candidate David Alderdice lightened the mood by remarking on
tactical voting by saying: "I'd like to thank the Alliance voters,
some of whom voted for me."

Compared to the 2001 elections, Lady Hermon's votes fell by

The Conservatives picked up just seven votes and the SDLP's
vote decreased.

Sinn Fein candidate Janet McCrory, who didn't turn up for the
count, secured just 205 votes.


Burnside Unhappy At Loss

Ulster Unionist David Burnside launched a stinging attack on
his party leadership tonight after being ousted as MP for South
Antrim by the DUP's Rev William McCrea.

He said he welcomed the result because his party had lost the
trust of the electorate.

With his party decimated across the province, he said it
saddened him that in its centenary year the party of Carson and
Craigavon was down to one member of Parliament.

But he said: "The unionist population lost the trust in the
leadership when they broke their word on `No Guns, No
Government`, and they were not prepared to stand in defence of
the RUC."

He added: "I am pleased with the message that has been sent
out in Ulster, I am pleased with the election result," he said.

"It speaks for the Ulster unionist people, we have had enough
of the appeasement and double standards."

Victorious Willie McCrea said it was A "red letter day for

He pledged the DUP would not betray the trust put in them. "I
say to those who are wedded to terrorism, Sinn Fein/IRA, the
lesson that they will learn is simply this , no longer do they face
pushover unionism.

"The days of pushover unionism have gone. Gone are the days
of Trimble and gone are the days of those who bolstered him
and gave him succour when he ought to have been removed
from office."

His smile never left his face all day as he realised early on he
was going to win.

The clash between the outgoing MP, Mr Burnside, and his
predecessor, the gospel singing Willie McCrea, was billed as a
tight contest.

Mr McCrea won the seat at a by-election in 2000, beating Mr
Burnside by just 822. The next year at the 2001 General Election
it was Mr Burnside`s turn to win it back for the UUP with a
majority of 1,011.

The decider was hardly in dispute from early in the day. Mr
McCrea was going to win, it just took hours to discover just
how big the win was going to be - almost 3,500 votes.

For the Free Presbyterian minister who joined Rev Ian Paisley
in the DUP nearly four decades ago and then joined his church,
it was a day to savour.

He was at Westminster as MP for the neighbouring
constituency of Mid Ulster for 14 years from 1983 until 1997
when he was ousted by Martin McGuinness of Sinn Fein.

He was back in the House of Commons briefly when he won
South Antrim the first time in 2000, but now has a more long
term tenure.

"I`m going home," he said. "I`m looking forward to it, It`s like a
second home to me."


The 'Big Man' Romps Home To Record Another Landslide Victory

DUP leader takes over half of the vote

By Marie Foy
07 May 2005

DUP leader Ian Paisley was today jubilantly celebrating yet
another landslide victory in North Antrim, claiming support
from 54% of the voters.

Mr Paisley polled an impressive 25,156 - up from 24,539 in the
last Westminster election.

Trailing well behind in second place was Sinn Fein's Philip
McGuigan who pulled in 7,191 votes.

He narrowly beat disappointed UUP hopeful Rodney McCune
into third place with 6,637. This was a hard-hitting outcome for
the UUP who had been in second place in the 2001 General

Mr McGuigan seized 15.6% of the total vote, up from 10%.

Meanwhile SDLP stalwart Sean Farren finished fourth with 5,585
votes and Alliance's Jane Dunlop rolled in last with 1,357.

A triumphant Mr Paisley was mobbed by flag-waving and
cheering supporters outside the Joey Dunlop leisure centre in
Ballymoney after the count.

In his victory speech the colourful "Big Man" announced that it
was a "good day for honest unionism".

"The day has come when we cannot tolerate IRA/Sinn Fein or
any other terror movement in our midst," he said. His party
would go "forth for righteousness and for the return of proper
law and order in this province".

A clearly downhearted Mr McCune, a Westminster aide and
barrister, commented: "It is a matter that now needs reflection
by my party. The party has to regroup and determine which
direction it wishes to go in."

Mr McGuigan said that when the election had been done and
dusted he hoped all politicians would work for a positive result
for all the people of Ireland and Mr Farren said the results
showed that the SDLP had a very strong degree of support in
North Antrim.

"While there is a degree of disappointment I am a democrat and
expect that the SDLP will learn from this election and will
regroup, re-strengthen and rebuild.

"Our results here and elsewhere have shown we are by no
means down and out."


’’ Trimble Toppled As Simpson Seals Upper Bann Win

By Michael McHugh
07 May 2005

THE deafening beat of the Lambeg drums greeted DUP leader
Ian Paisley as he arrived in Banbridge yesterday to congratulate
the man who has toppled David Trimble from his 14-year reign
as MP for Upper Bann.

There were jubilant scenes among the crowds of Union Jack-
waving supporters who jeered Mr Trimble and hailed David
Simpson at a watershed moment for unionism.

The former Portadown businessman won by a resounding 5,300
majority and consigned Mr Trimble's tenure as MP to history.

DUP luminaries Peter Robinson, Nigel Dodds and Jeffrey
Donaldson also arrived at Banbridge's leisure centre to a
cacophony of noise to herald the new MP.

Giving his acceptance speech at 7.20pm yesterday Mr Simpson
said he was humbled by the vote of confidence and pledged to
serve the electorate faithfully.

"I stand here today very humble in fact that the people of Upper
Bann have allowed me to represent them for the next 4-5 years
and I believe it sends out a very clear signal that push-over
unionism has gone forever and I believe that what the people
want in this constituency is to be consistently represented on
bread and butter issues."

Mr Simpson said that over the last four years as a Craigavon
Borough councillor he had proved his record of representing

The crowd cheered when the DUP businessman arrived at the
counting centre.

When Mr Paisley, flanked by his son Ian Jnr and wife Eileen
appeared, crowds thronged around him and whistles and
smoke greeted their entrance.

"David Trimble and his policies are sunk. There never was a
peace process. We need to get it out of the road and then start
again on a democratic basis," Mr Paisley said.

"The Assembly is not democratic as it puts into office by law
those who are law breakers."

Mr Paisley said that a leopard could not change its spots and
added that he had "seen the spots".

Mr Trimble looked as if he was struggling to retain composure
when giving his speech.

"Northern Ireland is now a much better place. I am proud of our

"Today has been considerably successful for the DUP and that
can't be gainsaid," he said.

"They will know that with that success comes responsibility.
They have inherited from unionism a very strong position for
unionists and I hope that they manage to safeguard that
position over the months to come."

Mr Simpson's final tally was 16,679 votes to Mr Trimble's
11,381. Sinn Fein's John O'Dowd won the nationalist race with
9,305 votes over 5,747 for the SDLP's Dolores Kelly. Ulster
Unionism now faces a crisis with the loss of Mr Trimble's and
three other seats.

He survived his DUP challenge in the 2001 Westminster
elections by around 2,000 votes.

Mr Trimble came to prominence during the banned 1995
Drumcree march when he walked alongside Mr Paisley.

He was then elected leader of the UUP in September 1995 and
was instrumental in the drawing up of the Good Friday
Agreement, for which he and the SDLP's John Hume received
the Nobel Peace Prize.


Donaldson Switch Brings A Landslide

By Deborah McAleese
07 May 2005

UNIONIST voters in Lagan Valley have switched their allegiance
to the DUP, ensuring a landslide victory for Jeffrey Donaldson.

A piper and cheering DUP supporters accompanied a
triumphant Mr Donaldson from Dromore leisure centre last
night after he walked away with almost 65% of the poll with
23,289 votes, 5,000 more than in the 2001 elections, when he
stood for the UUP.

He easily beat, by more than 14,000 votes, his Ulster Unionist
challenger Basil McCrea, who was selected by Lagan Valley
UUP members instead of David Trimble's wife Daphne.
Although it was clear Mr Donaldson had comfortably won the
Westminster seat early this morning, the confirmation of his
victory was still greeted by loud cheers.

Vowing to represent all the people of Lagan Valley, Mr
Donaldson said: "I will continue to work for this constituency,
to make progress and to bring prosperity.

"The DUP today has marvellous success right across Northern
Ireland. The party has made gains from constituency to
constituency. The unionist electorate have given their verdict
on Mr Trimble's leadership.

"Mr Trimble is gone. He should have gone a long time ago but
he did not go, and the party has paid the price.

"We want a real and lasting peace for the people of Northern
Ireland, but it will be a peace founded on democracy and not
criminality or terrorism.

"We intend to achieve a better future for those people in
Northern Ireland. We are a better organised and professional
party. It is great to be part of the united team that is being
strengthened right across Northern Ireland."

Conceding defeat, Mr McCrea said he is looking forward to the
next four years. He said: "I pledge to carry on working for the
people of Lagan Valley as best I can."

The Alliance Party's Seamus Close had hoped to retain the
second place he secured in the last general election but came
in third, followed by Sinn Fein's Paul Butler and then the
SDLP's Patricia Lewsley.

More than 61% of the electorate turned out to vote yesterday in
Lagan Valley, with 42,849 votes cast.


Iris Romps Home To Victory In Strangford

'The DUP's day has come'

By Ashleigh Wallace
07 May 2005

IRIS Robinson secured her seat in Strangford with a massive
20,921 votes, declaring: "The DUP's day has come."

Following husband Peter's success in East Belfast, the party's
first lady declared the unionist people of Ulster have spoken.

And while she secured her seat with a victory of 13,049 votes
over her UUP rival Gareth McGimpsey, the young candidate
who came in second place admitted: "We have taken a
hammering at the polls.

"We are going to have to have a long, hard look at ourselves."

Saying she was delighted at the result, Mrs Robinson said:
"The DUP has gone from strength to strength and I'm deeply
humbled by the result.

"The answer to this result is down to hard work and keeping
your election pledges. That is the difference between my party
and the Ulster Unionist party."

Mrs Robinson, who increased her vote by 2,387 from 2001,
added: "Let the British, Irish and American governments take
note - the DUP now speaks for the unionist people of Northern

"They have spoken and they will be heard."

Four years ago the Ulster Unionists secured 17, 422 votes. But
this election, only 7,872 people across the constituency voted
for Gareth McGimpsey, whose father Michael lost his battle for
the South Belfast seat.

Kieran McCarthy's Alliance vote increased by 430, while Sinn
Fein secured 19 more votes than in 2001.

The Strangford constituency spans from Newtownards along
the tip of the peninsula to Portaferry, it also encompasses
Dundonald and Carryduff.


DUP's Dodds Hails North Belfast Poll Result A 'Resounding Victory'

By Andrea Clements
07 May 2005

DUP cheers rang out, along with the traditional waving of the
Union Jack when it emerged Nigel Dodds had been re-elected in
North Belfast.

His 46% share of the vote compared with closest rival - Sinn
Fein's Gerry Kelly's 29% - proved there was never any real
threat to his position.

The Ulster Unionist party's votes were more than halved from
4,904 or 12% in 2001 to 2,154 and 7% this time round.

UUP candidate Fred Cobain did not stay to take the platform
after the result was announced.

Hailing his result a "resounding victory" Mr Dodds said this
election had so far been a "watershed in the political history of
Northern Ireland".

"I believe people are turning to us because we deliver results
on the ground," he added.

He said his party's policy was based on "telling people the
truth" and gave his full commitment to "working full-time and
all the time, not just at election time for people".

Mr Kelly warned that Sinn Fein was "coming after" his seat and
claimed the gap was closing.

And he urged the DUP to work with nationalists.

"Unionists need to remember they can't go it alone," he said.

He predicted support for Sinn Fein would translate well into
council seats.

Alban Maginness of the SDLP, whose party saw almost a 6%
drop in votes, said "a tremendous challenge" existed to
transform relationships between the two communities.

He said a vote for his party was "a vote for reconciliation",
adding that he believed all democratic politicians should work
towards that aim.

Lynda Gilby, who ran in every Belfast constituency, called for
compulsory integrated education in Northern Ireland.


Empey Warns Triumphant Robinson Over Commons

Unionism now at its weakest ever, says UUP man

By Brian Hutton
07 May 2005

THE DUP's Peter Robinson used his comfortable re-election in
East Belfast to urge a voluntary coalition, excluding Sinn Fein,
to restore a devolved government in Northern Ireland.

But after the deputy leader fired up his party faithful with a
defiant speech, the UUP candidate for the constituency, Reg
Empey, poured cold water on the celebrations.

The former Trade Minister warned that unionist representation
in the House of Commons was now at its lowest ever.

Mr Robinson took to the podium after holding his seat with an
increased share of the electorate on the 2001 general election.

"This is a historic day in Northern Ireland. It is in many ways a

"In years to come people will look back and see this as the
election where unionists asked the DUP to bind their
community together." he said.

Mr Robinson taunted the UUP for rebuking the offer of an
electoral pact in South Belfast and Fermanagh South Tyrone.

"I rather suspect in their silent moments they will wish that they
had taken up the offer," he said.

"Unionism must unite and the people have shown very clearly
the policies behind which they should unite.

The DUP was bound by its manifesto to seek progress in
devolving government, he continued, but there were conditions.

"The devolved government in Northern Ireland can only have in
its Executive those who are wholly committed to peaceful and
democratic means .

"There is no room in that executive for those who seek to lead a
double life. Those who wish to be terrorists and criminals on
one occasion and be democratic politicians on another.

"Criminality, paramilitary activity must end and must end
completely and all of the weapons of death must be handed

He added: "Personally, I can not see the day when Sinn
Fein/IRA reach that standard.

"And therefore I urge democratic parties to move forward
together in a voluntary coalition to establish in Northern Ireland
an Executive that will be representative of the people of
Northern Ireland. "

Mr Empey warned the DUP that while celebrating their own
electoral success they were missing a crucial point.

"If things work out as it appears we'll have the lowest unionist
representation in the House of Commons ever," he said.

"That is something of very great concern. Because we have
effectively that representation to depend upon. It is very
regrettable that it is at that level."


Campbell Makes Very Good Fist Of Defending Seat

By Marie Foy
07 May 2005

THE DUP's Gregory Campbell could hardly contain his delight
as he romped home with a more than comfortable win in East

As expected, he trounced his only real rival, UUP Assemblyman
David McClarty, polling 15,225 votes compared to McClarty's

Traditionally an Ulster Unionist seat, Mr Campbell had seen off
the UUP's William Ross in the 2001 election, despite Mr Ross
having held the seat since it was inaugurated in 1983.

Yesterday all eyes had been on Coleraine councillor Billy
Leonard, a Protestant former lay preacher, ex-Orangeman and
police reservist who was standing for Sinn Fein.

Despite speculation during the count that he, too, could beat
the UUP candidate, he finally wound up in fourth place behind
the SDLP's John Dallat with 5,709 votes.

The DUP gained 42.8% of the total vote, which was up from
12,800 in 2001, when there was a higher turnout.

Mr Campbell put his party's success down to an "extensive
canvass, the like of which this constituency has never seen

He said it was a momentous day for East Londonderry and
across Northern Ireland.

"The unionist community have got off their knees. They have
decided they have had enough of compromise, enough of
betrayal." There were "over 15,000 reasons why his party was
at the helm in 2005" he added.

Mr McClarty commented: "It is a sad day for Northern Ireland in
its continued polarisation. But the good thing about politics is
there are going to be other opportunities."

And Mr Dallat said his party looked forward to a future that
would embrace all the people. "There are two traditions in this
constituency and they will have to be recognised."


Burnside Falls As McCrea Triumphs In South Antrim

07 May 2005

TRIUMPHANT DUP candidate, the Rev William McCrea, got one
of the biggest cheers of the day at the Valley Leisure Centre by
simply reeling off a list of Christian names.

The names in question were those of his eight party colleagues
who will be joining him on the green benches in the Houses of

"There will be a loud voice in the House of Commons for
traditional unionism," he declared.

Mr McCrea secured one of the DUP gains of the day, ousting
the UUP's David Burnside by a healthy margin of 3,448 votes.

Mr Burnside had been defending a majority of 1,011 from 2001.

It was the third time the two leading politicians had gone head
to head in an election and they had been tied at one win each
before yesterday's result.

Mr McCrea's victory speech declared May 6, 2005 a "red letter
day" for traditional unionism.

He added: "Gone are the days of Trimble and gone are the days
of those who bolstered him up and gave him succour when he
should have been removed from office."

Mr Burnside, who heads a public relations company, put a
positive spin on his performance. "I've done pretty well here as
an Ulster Unionist when I look at the wipe-out across the
province," he claimed.

The UUP MLA put the blame for the result on the collective
leadership of his party.

He alleged that they had broken their word on their "no guns,
no government" pledge and failed to defend the RUC.

Mr Burnside also argued that the General Election had shown
that Unionist voters had had enough of "appeasement" and
"double standards".

"I'm pleased with the message that has been sent out in Ulster
today. I am pleased with the election results," he said.

The senior UUP representative also said: "I'm proud to be a
member of the Ulster Unionist Party, the party of Carson,
Craigavon and Molyneaux, the party that has gone wrong in
recent years because the leadership lost the trust of unionists."


Wilson On Way To Westminster

By David Gordon
07 May 2005

THE DUP's Sammy Wilson booked his seat in the House of
Commons with a thumping 7,304 majority over Ulster Unionist
veteran Roy Beggs.

His campaign team started the day quietly confident, but still
mindful that they were up against one of the great survivors of
Northern Ireland politics.

But by early afternoon at the Valley Leisure Centre count, they
were whispering the word "landslide" with broad smiles on
their faces.

Mr Wilson had been the bookies' clear favourite, having lost out
to Mr Beggs by just 128 votes in 2001.

But the DUP Assemblyman admitted that he was somewhat
surprised by the margin of his victory.

"I knew that we were getting a good reception as we went round
the doors," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

"But I didn't think it was going to be quite as convincing as it

He also said: "To have such a comfortable majority means
nobody can carp and say you were just lucky.

"The majority puts it beyond any doubt that this was a ringing

Mr Beggs, who had held the seat for 22 years, fired a defiant
"We will be back" message from the platform after the result
was declared.

He also defended his party's track record, to a smattering of
heckles from DUP supporters.

He said that the election had been fought in a "considerably
different" atmosphere to previous years.

"The situation which we enjoy today would not have been
possible but for the commitment made by the Ulster Unionist
Party heretofore."

Speaking afterwards, Mr Beggs said that he took personal
responsibility for the loss of the once safe UUP seat.

He also praised party leader David Trimble as "courageous".

Any UUP hopes of Alliance supporters voting tactically in a bid
to stop the DUP were quickly dispelled. Ex-Alliance leader Sean
Neeson's tally of 4,869 represented an increase on the party's
showing in the last Assembly and Westminster polls.


Viewpoint: Still Only One Way Forward

MOMENTOUS ELECTION: Positive signs despite the polarised

07 May 2005

THE 2005 General Election result in Northern Ireland may well
be regarded by historians, in future, as the year which changed
the political landscape of the province for ever. The virtual
eclipse of the Ulster Unionist Party in their 100th anniversary
year by the Rev. Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionists and the
continued progress of Sinn Fein despite a stalwart performance
by the SDLP, will now dictate the shape and speed of new
negotiations on the province's political future.

As this newspaper has said consistently for the last 30 years,
that future must be built on stable, effective and fair power-
sharing arrangements between the unionist and nationalist
communities and on policies that are supportive of the rule of
law, non-sectarian, cross-community and demonstrate respect
for differing political allegiances.

The challenge now for Tony Blair's new government, with its
much reduced majority, is how to reconcile the aspirations of
both the DUP and Sinn Fein in future negotiations. Mr Paisley's
unprecedented rout of the Ulster Unionist Westminster team is
nothing less than spectacular and his position as leader of the
fourth largest party in the new parliament will give him huge
bargaining power. Similarly, Sinn Fein's increased
representation, in spite of the Northern Bank robbery and the
murder of Robert McCartney, will be seen by republicans as
vindication of their political strategy.

Some Ulster Unionists believe that the primary reason for the
DUP's sweeping gains is that they have moved on to their pro-
agreement territory and that there is now little difference
between the unionist parties in terms of the constitutional
position and devolution plans for governing Northern Ireland.
Mr. Paisley will argue that his political analysis was correct all
along and that the critical mass of the unionist community has
finally agreed with him. Nevertheless, when the dust settles, if
the DUP leader wishes a devolved Assembly to return, he will
still be faced with reaching agreement with his republican

For the Ulster Unionists there are no crumbs of comfort from
their electoral annihilation on the Westminster stage. They
have, indeed, paid a heavy price for Sinn Fein's failure to live up
to its side of the bargain in relation to the principles of the
Good Friday Agreement. Sinn Fein's democratic credentials
were put to the test by David Trimble - and for that he deserves
credit - but, to this day, they have still not fully embraced the
Agreement's fundamental principles.

The SDLP had more chinks of light yesterday than some
commentators predicted. It continues to resist the rise of Sinn
Fein and to offer a strong alternative to those who want nothing
to do with paramilitarism in the nationalist community. It now
remains to be seen if Sinn Fein can truly move away from the
shadow of the gun and, if it can do so in the months ahead,
then community relations and the political atmosphere in
general would be transformed.

On the face of it, the polarised politics of Ulster offers a forlorn
future. Yet so much has changed in this province and both Mr
Paisley and Mr Adams know that. Slowly but surely, equality,
fairness and tolerance have taken root aided by decades of
reform and legislation. The idea of unionist supremacy is
consigned to the history books and the hope is that republican
violence can also be so in the near future.

Whatever way you look at it, this election has heralded a
remarkable change in the make-up of the political map of
Northern Ireland. An optimistic interpretation is that it may have
happened because DUP and Sinn Fein figures have moved on
to the centre ground, making parties once thought of as being
on the extremes more electorally appealing.

Whatever the reason, the people have spoken. Let us hope that
the 18 MPs, to whom they have lent their vote, will repay their
faith by building the better future that the people of Northern
Ireland so richly deserve, with the rights of everyone cherished
and respected. Partnership can be achieved but only if the gun
is once and for all taken out of our political life.


New Green Peak In Ulster

By Chris Thornton, Political Correspondent
07 May 2005

NATIONALISM reached a new height yesterday in Northern
Ireland's Westminster elections, capturing an unprecedented
eight seats.

All five border constituencies remained with Sinn Fein and the
SDLP, while SF held on to Mid Ulster and West Belfast and the
SDLP dramatically captured South Belfast.

In the internal battle, the SDLP defied predictions to come out
with three seats, the same number it held going into the

SDLP leader Mark Durkan beat back SF in Foyle, John Hume's
old constituency, and his deputy, Alasdair McDonnell ran
through a unionist split to become the first nationalist to
represent South Belfast.

The party lost Newry & Armagh, Seamus Mallon's old seat to
Sinn Fein's Conor Murphy.

That was party's sole gain. It remains the dominant nationalist
party, capturing almost a quarter of the vote.

But the party had confidently expected to capture Foyle from
the SDLP.

Afterwards, Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams turned attention
to the aftermath of the election and the prospects for reviving a
devolved government.

"It is only a question of when we meet the DUP and if they don't
then it's a challenge for Mr

Blair," he said.

The SDLP, which lost 50,000 voters between 2001 and 2003,
made a slight but significant recovery. Its overall vote jumped
by 8,000, which would put the party in position to defend its 18
Assembly seats and possibly make some gains if another
Assembly vote took place.

Some of those voters appear to have been unionists who opted
for Mark Durkan and Eddie McGrady to keep out Sinn Fein.

Judging by the unionist drops, as many as 3,000 unionists -
about 2,000 in Foyle and 1,000 in South Down - voted for those
two SDLP candidates.

Mr Durkan said his victory was won "on a bedrock of solid
SDLP nationalist votes".

"We fought harder for votes, we were hungrier for votes, we got
our stay-at-home votes back out and there's a lesson for us as
a party more widely and it's a lesson that we will be learning
and we will be applying positively," he said.

"I have no shame in any unionist votes that I received in this
election because my party earned them."


A Vacuum Theory To Take In The Suckers?

House-keeping by Gerry Adams?

By Lindy McDowell
07 May 2005

AS he set about cleaning up a few more votes in this week's
election, Gerry Adams got the vacuum out. Nothing new there.

In political terms, Gerry is the equivalent of a desperate
housewife wielding his trusty vacuum on a regular basis to
suck up everything from stray votes to assorted naive idiots
and prime ministers.

The vacuum system is a Godsend for Gerry. It works like this:

You're the boss of the political wing of a paramilitary
organisation on whose "army council" you also sit.

This paramilitary organisation is supposedly on cessation (give
or take the odd murder, bank heist, kneecapping) but retains
the capacity for a full-blown terror campaign.

The terror campaign used to be used to secure your political

But now you've discovered you don't actually need to go the
whole hog here. Just give people the odd flash of your arsenal.

In other words remind them that the violence can return at any

If there's a political vacuum.

Meanwhile, in order to ratchet up the tension, it pays to
highlight examples of potential vacuum violence to illustrate
your case. Take the explosive device found along the route of
this week's Belfast Marathon.

That was being blamed on "dissidents."

But it was being held up by Gerry as the just sort of thing we
could expect if we were to carelessly leave our vacuum lying
around waiting for something to fill it.

This was Gerry in maximum rubber glove mode, tut-tutting like
Aggie and Kim on discovered fungus in the fridge in How Clean
is Your House?

The thing about Gerry's vacuum argument though, is that
there's nothing in it.

The big vacuum in Northern Ireland is the space into which,
several years ago, the arsenals of all paramilitary outfits here
were supposed to have been consigned. As we all know that
never happened.

Meanwhile, Gerry Adams' dire warning about how "political
vacuum is inevitably filled with violence" is rarely challenged.

Nobody for example, ever suggests that the reverse might in
fact be more valid - that if there was what we could call a
paramilitary vacuum this might inevitably be filled with peace.

Commentators, most of them from outside Northern Ireland, go
along with the vacuum theory because well, if Sinn Fein says
it's so, it must be so.

One vacuum theory. Countless suckers.


Analysis: The Fall Of Unionism

By any standards it was a bitter defeat, but how will David
Trimble's legacy be judged? Political Correspondent Noel
McAdam reports

By Noel McAdam, Political Correspondent
07 May 2005

HISTORY may very well be kind to David Trimble. For some
years, embattled on all sides, he - more than any other
individual - was the glue holding the 'peace process' together.

No-one took more risks with their political party than Trimble
did - only to see it hammered further at the ballot box in almost
every election since 2001.

His own personal defeat last night, and likely departure as
Ulster Unionist leader in the coming days, is undoubtedly a
watershed and - though he eschews such language - an historic

After 40 years of agitprop and opposition, Ian Paisley has finally
consolidated the dominance of the DUP and claimed perhaps
his greatest Ulster Unionist scalp.

As he left the Banbridge count last night, Mr Trimble might have
wryly remembered all the long years of the Paisley "so-and-so
must go" campaigns. Now there is no leader left to go except,
in due course, Mr Paisley himself.

Just a few weeks ago Mr Trimble braved the Brownstown estate
in Portadown. Only, he admitted, for about 35 minutes.

The fact he was there at all - and didn't stay too long - were
both indicative not just of his personal determination but the
overall state of unionism.

In another part of the town, the Annagh, Trimble recieved a
surprise on another doorstep. The lady who answered said she
was glad to see him, because she had been terribly rude to him
last time he called and wanted to apologise.

Trimble took it as a sign of change. A few years ago he could
hardly have dared even appear in Brownstown. He viewed it an
indicating a calmer, more confident unionist community was
carefully weighing up who could best negotiate on its behalf,
particularly in the aftermath of the collapsed December deal
between the DUP and Sinn Fein.

It was that feeling which lay behind Trimble's belief that his
party could not just hold onto - but even increase - its
Westminster seats. If he felt different in private, and some say
he did, it never seemed to show.

But in fact his fairly polite and positive doorstep reception in
recent weeks seems to have pointed more to the fact that
unionists had decided Mr Trimble is no longer a major player.

The pitfalls and disasters of the UU election campaign - the
'decent people' poster; the police raid on a councillors
business and home; the Alliance 'dirty tricks' leaflet - all
seemed symbolic of the party's more long-term lack of
judgement and hard-nosed pragmatism.

The decision to adopt a hardline stance before and since the
collapsed DUP-Sinn Fein deal last December appears to have
convinced relatively few and possibly alienated some

Their series of Its Not Fair leaflets, echoing the DUP mantra of a
'fair deal', only succeeded in convincing the formerly
sympathetic Alliance and SDLP that UUs were trying to out-

And then in the face of the finally-confirmed election came the
negotiations over a pan-unionist pact which could have carved
up the electoral map and virtually guaranteed unionist victories.

After the initial, inevitable cock-of-the-walk bluster and rhetoric
from both sides, Trimble made his opening gambit to the DUP.
It by then was offering a choice of one seat on a plate (South
Belfast or Fermanagh South Tyrone) but involved the pain of
opting out. His counter-offer, when it came, failed to contain
even a single carrot to attract the DUP and any hope of a deal

But the internal problems within the Ulster Unionist Party have
much deeper roots. For some years Trimble has appeared
increasingly isolated, surrounded by a small coterie of like-
minded observers and analysts, remote from grassroots
members and thinking.

Even those who respected Trimble, while at the same time
finding him hard to get on with and beginning to lose trust in
his abilities, have argued he failed to build a consensus in the
aftermath of the Good Friday Agreement.

Others calculate he failed to take on his party opponents, facing
down Jeffrey Donaldson while seeking to persuade on his own
vision and tactics. Too often, too much was left to chance.

Even his own party rules seemed to work against him. Lavishly
democratic internal structures through which a party 'tail'
could, if not wag, at least take the ruling UU Council dog out for
a walk, brought Trimble repeatedly to the wall.

There appeared, until recently, to be a lack of willingness to
tackle organisational chaos. When it came, resulting in the rift
with the Orange Order, it was too late.

It was an emotional David Trimble who handed over the seat he
inherited from Harold McCusker last night. But it would be
unwise to consign the man to history just yet.


Unionists Torn Apart

DUP's triumph begs the question: so what now for Trimble and
the UUP?

By Noel McAdam, Political Correspondent
07 May 2005

DAVID Trimble was under pressure to quit as Ulster Unionist
leader last night after dramatically losing his Upper Bann seat.

The calls came from within his own party which was left in
disarray after losing four Westminster seats to the DUP and

But the former First Minister made clear he would await the
decision of the party he had been appointed to serve. Long-time
Trimble critic David Burnside, who also lost his South Antrim
seat to the DUP, demanded his leader's departure.

"If he hangs on after this, God help the Ulster Unionist Party.
The more he continues as leader, the more he damages the
UUP," Mr Burnside said.

"I said last year he is past his sell-by date and I haven't
changed my mind."

Former senior Trimble aide, Assembly member David McNarry
indicated he expected Mr Trimble to go over the weekend.

"I expect David Trimble regrettably to resign his position as
party leader and then the party will set about dealing with all of
that," he said.

And former deputy leader of the party Assembly group, Lord
Kilclooney, said he would resign if he was in Mr Trimble's

Senior Ulster Unionists will meet next week to debate future
leadership and direction. Party chairman James Cooper last
night admitted the party had taken a "battering" but he insisted
there was no sense of panic.

A number of senior figures are expected to meet over the
weekend ahead of an anticipated Assembly group meeting on

Then party officers have scheduled a meeting for next Friday,
after which a broader party consultation exercise appears to be
on the cards.

"I am not going to put a time-frame on it," Mr Cooper said last
night. "As far as the party is concerned we have suffered a
battering today but we still represent a sizeable section of the
Northern Ireland population.

"It is very clear that everyone in the party should be
considering how we conducted the Westminster campaign and
how we can rebuild.

"We have been let down as a party by the British Government
and by those who failed to deal with paramilitarism when we
warned about it. I don't think the party will be panicked into
changing leadership or changing course."

Mr Trimble said: "As I have said many times before, I am a
servant of the party.

"I have already spoken to some colleagues - but I am going to
consult broadly among senior colleagues and we will arrive at a
collective decision as we do on all important matters and we
will see where we go from there."


How The Paisley Pattern Was To Become Fashion Of The Day

By Noel McAdam, Political Correspondent
07 May 2005

THE DUP last night confirmed its dominance as the main
unionist party after virtually wiping the Ulster Unionist Party off
the Westminster map.

Only North Down MP Lady Sylvia Hermon was left standing for
the UUP after a sensation-filled day of knock-out successes for
the DUP.

Leader Ian Paisley joined the celebrations in Upper Bann where
David Simpson claimed the biggest prize of the day, toppling
Trimble by a margin of 5,298 votes.

But overall the party now has half of the 18 Westminster
consituencies, increasing its seats total from six - which
included UUP defector Jeffrey Donaldson, re-elected as a DUP
MP in Lagan Valley - to nine.

Former Belfast Lord Mayor Sammy Wilson finally took East
Antrim from Ulster Unionist Roy Beggs, romping home with
nearly 50% of the vote.

It was a pattern soon established at counts across the province
with the DUP winning almost double the vote of their UUP
opponents - an exception being East Belfast where Sir Reg
Empey performed well against DUP deputy leader Peter

The result in East Antrim also turned an Ulster Unionist
majority of just 128 at the last election into a DUP majority of
over 7,000.

Then came South Antrim where the DUP's Rev William McCrea
was 3,448 out in front of UUP man David Burnside, repeating
his original by-election success following the death of Clifford

Leader Ian Paisley, party secretary Nigel Dodds, Iris Robinson
and Gregory Campbell all comfortably held onto their seats in
North Antrim, East Belfast, North Belfast, Strangford and East
Londonderry respectively.

Mr Robinson said at a human level he did not want to make
more difficulty for David Trimble during his remaining days in

"The lesson is you cannot play fast and loose with the
electorate and get away with it.

"Slowly but surely he has been held to account by the unionist
electorate," he said.

"The DUP has clearly gained the trust of the unionist electorate
as the voice of unionism. This is not a passing phase but is
going be the position for at least a generation."

Shortly after his North Antrim victory, Mr Paisley said he spoke
to Tony Blair and warned him he must heed the voice of
unionism in Northern Ireland.


The Winners: The New Voices At Westminster

07 May 2005

This is Northern Ireland's latest Westminster line-up, with new
faces representing a third of the province's 18 seats.

The sole UUP winner, Lady Sylvia Hermon, holds the torch for a
party that after the 1983 general election took 11 of the then 17
House of Commons seats.

Three of the new MPs are DUP men - David Simpson, Rev
William McCrea and Sammy Wilson - with the SDLP sending
two new representatives to London, party leader Mark Durkan
and Dr Alasdair McDonnell.

Sinn Fein has one new MP - Conor Murphy in Newry and

Of the newly-elected contingent, Alasdair McDonnell first stood
as a Westminster candidate 26 years ago, in 1979, while Sammy
Wilson has been a candidate in a number of general elections,
first in Strangford in 1992.

One of the six new MPs has been at Westminster before - the
Rev McCrea, who has had three separate spells as an MP, first
for Mid-Ulster from 1983 to 1997.

By far the longest-standing Northern Ireland MP is DUP leader
the Rev Ian Paisley, who has represented North Antrim since
1970. His deputy leader Peter Robinson has the next longest
tenure, having been East Belfast MP since 1979.
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