South Antrim: Big blow for UUP as Paul Girvan and DUP prevail

‘People of South Antrim have united around the positive message our campaign had’

 

There were jubilant scenes when the Democratic Unionist Party candidate Paul Girvan was returned to Westminster for South Antrim on Friday morning.

Shortly after 2.30am, Mr Girvan won the seat with a comfortable lead over the UUP’s Danny Kinahan.

Others vying for the seat included Sinn Féin’s Declan Kearney, Neil Kelly of the Alliance Party and Róisín Lynch of the Social Democratic and Labour Party.

In the end, it was a clear win for Mr Girvan who secured 16,508 votes over Mr Kinahan who took 13,300 votes.

Mr Kearney secured 7,797 votes, Mr Kelly took in 3,203 votes, while Ms Lynch took home 2,362.

A rapturous cheer rang out through the Valley Leisure Centre where the East and South Antrim votes were counted as Mr Girvan made his way to the podium.

He thanked his campaign team for knocking on “every door” in South Antrim which ultimately led to his victory.

“I want to thank the people of South Antrim who have voted for me, and I am deeply humbled and honoured that they had the confidence in me to give me that vote. I will work hard to deliver for them,” he said.

“This election also has its problems, there are those who have unfortunately fought an election. Everybody hopes to win and I want to put this on record; Danny (Kinahan), I want to thank him for the service he has given South Antrim,” added the newly elected DUP candidate.

“The people of South Antrim have united around the positive message our campaign had and that was that we have a voice for the union and the unionists. It’s something that has resonated with the people and I really do feel we are the voice for unionism.

“We asked people to unite behind us and that is what they have done, it’s not just in South Antrim but that’s right across the province.”

Mr Kinahan, who secured 13,300 votes but lost his seat, noted that he was looking forward to dusting off his golf clubs and wished his friend Mr Girvan “well” on his next chapter in Westminster.

Previous Westminster elections

2010 – DUP William McCrea (DUP) defeated UCU’s Reg Empey (11,536 votes to 10,353).

2015 – Danny Kinahan (UUP) beat Mr McCrea (11,942 to 10,993).