Belfast West: Paul Maskey of Sinn Féin retains seat easily despite slip in votes

Gerry Carroll of People Before Profit pips DUP’s Frank McCoubrey to second place

Paul Maskey celebrates with Sinn Féin’s Northern Ireland leader, Michelle O’Neill. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty

Paul Maskey celebrates with Sinn Féin’s Northern Ireland leader, Michelle O’Neill. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty

 

The outgoing Sinn Féin MP Paul Maskey was easily returned in Belfast West, elected with a sizeable majority of 14,672 votes over his nearest rival, Gerry Carroll of People Before Profit.

Mr Maskey took over the seat in 2011, when the former Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams moved to Louth to concentrate on advancing the party’s fortunes south of the Border.

Mr Maskey had a majority of 21,652 in 2017 but this time saw that advantage reduced. Two years ago he won 27,107 votes. This time he took 20,866.

Two years ago Frank McCoubrey of the DUP took second place, but this time that accolade went to Mr Carroll, who won 6,194 votes. That will consolidate People Before Profit’s standing in Belfast West, where Mr Carroll is a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Mr McCoubrey took third place, on 5,220 votes. Next was the SDLP candidate, Paul Doherty, on 2,985 votes, followed by Donnamarie Higgins of the Alliance Party, on 1,882 votes, and the former Sinn Féin councillor Monica Digney, now of Aontú, on 1,635 votes.