Belfast West: SDLP stalwart fails to make the cut

Sinn Féin reasserts its dominance in the constituency in North’s Assembly election

SDLP member Alex Attwood prepares to make a concession speech after failing to be elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly, in Belfast, Co Antrim. Photograph: Paul McErlane/AFP/Getty Images

SDLP member Alex Attwood prepares to make a concession speech after failing to be elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly, in Belfast, Co Antrim. Photograph: Paul McErlane/AFP/Getty Images

 

Sinn Féin reasserted its dominance in Belfast West in the North Assembly elections, in a contest that saw the end of SDLP stalwart Alex Attwood’s tenure at Stormont.

After People Before Profit (PBP) topped the poll in the constituency in the last Assembly election in 2016, Sinn Féin’s Órlaithí Flynn secured the top spot this time.

PBP’s Gerry Carroll did retain his seat, along with three other familiar Sinn Féin faces: Pat Sheehan, Alex Maskey and Fra McCann.

Following her election, Ms Flynn said a “step change” was needed at Stormont.

“There can be no return to the status quo,” she said.

Mr Attwood, who has been an MLA since 1998, delivered an emotional speech after he was knocked out of the contest.

“I feel I have let the SDLP down,” he said. “I feel I have let the people of west Belfast down.”

PA