Brexit: Northern Ireland votes to remain in the EU
Leave did better than anticipated in North but majority choose to stay in the bloc
Ballot papers waiting to be counted at the Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast, as counting gets under way in the referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Northern Ireland has voted to remain in the EU in the referendum on the UK’s membership of the bloc.
The results from Northern Ireland saw the Remain side edge it by 55.77 per cent, with the Leave side doing better than expected.
Foyle was the first constituency to declare in the count towards the overall result in Northern Ireland in the UK’s referendum on its EU membership, with a strong majority for Remain.
A total of 32,064 voted for the UK to stay in the EU with 8,905 backing Brexit.
West Tyrone has voted to remain in the EU, with 26, 765 votes for Remain and 13, 274 votes for Leave.
Belfast West has voted to remain in the EU, with 23,099 votes for Remain, 8,092 votes for Leave.
Belfast South voted strongly to remain, with 30,960 for Remain, 13,596 for Leave.
Belfast North has voted narrowly to remain, by 20,128 to 19,844.
North Down voted to remain with 23,131 votes for Remain, 21,046 votes for Leave.
Belfast East voted to leave, with 20,728 for Remain and 21,918 for Leave.
DUP stronghold Lagan Valley voted for Brexit with a total of 22,710 (47 per cent) voting for Remain and 25,704 (53 per cent) voting for Leave.
North Antrim has voted to leave, with 18, 782 votes for Remain and 30, 938 voting for Leave.
Strangford has voted to leave, with 18,727 votes for Remain, and 23,383 votes for Leave.
Belfast East has voted to leave, with 20,728 for Remain, 21,918 vote for Leave.
The electorate in East Antrim firmly backed calls to pull out of Europe, with 22,929 votes for Leave compared with 18,616 votes for Remain.
Leave campaigners also enjoyed success in South Antrim, where 22,055 voters backed Brexit while 21,498 said they wanted to stay.
East Derry has voted to remain, by 21,098 to 19,455, while Upper Bann voted to leave, by 27,262 to 24,550.
South Down voted for remain, by 32,076 votes to 15,625, as did Mid-Ulster, by 25,612 votes to 16,799.
Fermanagh and South Tyrone has voted Remain, by 28,200 votes to 19,958. Newry and Armagh also voted to remain in the EU.
Northern Ireland is treated as one electoral area in the overall UK result, but the count was broken down across its 18 constituencies, with those separate outcomes added together for the regional result.
The verification of ballot papers started in eight regional count centres shortly after polls closed at 10pm.
The final regional result was be announced at the Titanic Exhibition Centre in Belfast by the chief electoral officer for Northern Ireland, Graham Shields.
There were about 320 electoral staff in the centre, including counters, count supervisors and count calculators.
After arriving at the Belfast centre, DUP MLA for Belfast South Christopher Stalford said: “If leave [vote] is over 30 per cent I will consider that as a victory.”
DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds said: “The signs in Northern Ireland is that Leave will do better than anyone expected even a few weeks ago.”
Ian Paisley Jnr also said he believes a Leave win would make the DUP more influential in the House of Commons.
Meanwhile, Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson said: “For us this was about staying in Ireland, as Ireland, staying as one, not having one part in Europe and the other part of it outside of Europe.”
Belfast South MP and former SDLP leader Dr Alasdair McDonnell also said he was hopeful of the Remain campaign winning and that he believes the UK must “throw itself into Europe full thrust”.
Sinn Féin, the Ulster Unionists, the SDLP and the Alliance Party campaigned for a Remain vote in the referendum campaign, while the DUP, Traditional Unionist Voice and Ukip were among those advocating a Brexit.
The future of the Irish Border was a key issue in the campaign, with claim and counter-claims on whether a UK exit would see a return to security and customs checkpoints.
Additional reporting: Reuter and PA