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Michelle O’Neill will be raising glass to DUP leader for his help in historic win

2 12 18

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson never uttered the “crocodile” word, but the DUP’s determination to stop a Sinn Fein First Minister dramatically backfired and galvanised the nationalist vote.

From every count centre there came fantastic news for Sinn Fein. It has blown away its rivals, with the SDLP and People Before Profit significantly down.

The DUP’s strident opposition to the prospect of Michelle O’Neill becoming First Minister reached a place in the hearts of nationalist voters, and made them intent on making it happen.

And so votes that may not have gone Sinn Fein’s way otherwise were lent to the party to send a message to the DUP.

The symbolism of the party holding the top position — if a new Executive is formed — in a state it wants to abolish is huge.

No constituency tells the story better than West Belfast. Sinn Fein will comfortably bring home its four MLAs.

The SDLP’s Paul Doherty was a strong candidate who is firmly rooted in Turf Lodge and founded a food bank. Yet the party’s vote was down from 9% to 6% in the constituency.

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© Belfast Telegraph

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