All change in east Belfast
So the Westminster election is over. The votes have been cast and the seats have been won.
Sinn Féin had a tremendous election, for the second time in a row, emerging as the largest party in the Six Counties. In Fermanagh and south Tyrone comrades from across Ireland put in mammoth work to ensure that Michelle Gildernew retained this historic seat against the combined efforts of the Orange Order, the Unionist parties, the British Tories and the SDLP.
Michelle retained her seat, coming four votes ahead of her nearest rival. Well done Michelle.
The election campaign is a tiring period, I am immensely grateful to all those who worked on the party’s effort in east Belfast. More so I am extremely thankful to those people who voted for Sinn Féin in the constituency; it is a very humbling experience to put yourself before the people and to receive a mandate from them. I take that mandate very seriously and commit myself ton continue to represent their needs as a public representative in the time ahead.
For our part, Sinn Féin in the east of the city will be continuing in the coming period with eyes firmly fixed on the upcoming Assembly and Council elections due to take place next year, in particular we have a council seat to retake and I am strongly of the opinion that we can do that.
Naomi Long of the Alliance Party is the new MP in east Belfast, I congratulate her on her achievement, I did so at the election count when we received the official figures from the returning officer. No one can doubt the political significance of her election and the fall of Peter Robinson who has held that particular seat since 1979. No doubt recent scandals, most likely around expenses as opposed to any personal ones, were detrimental to Robinson within vast areas of working class east Belfast. That is certainly the feedback I have been getting for a considerable time from those working class unionists and loyalists that I regularly engage with. So its interesting times and as much as Naomi Long ticks many media friendly boxes the people look on and they expect.
This morning Gerry Adams called for a united approach by the parties here to proactively face down the inevitable cuts coming from whichever form the next Brit Government takes.
A special mention to my good friend and comrade Alex Maskey whose initiative in south Belfast clearly had political ramifications beyond his own constituency. The move by Alex has paid dividends for nationalist and republican representation and I have no doubt will continue to pay dividends but more specifically for the ongoing project and body of work Sinn Féin is firmly committed to advancing in south Béal Feirste.
To analyse the specific results across the north would be massively time consuming but one thing is for sure, Sinn Féin is on the up and those parties with a wreckers agenda were firmly rejected by citizens across each constituency.
I want to take the opportunity to again thank those people who entrusted me with their vote; I look forward to the continued challenges that no doubt lie ahead. A lot of work needs to be done, I think Sinn Féin are the party to do it!
Speak to you again soon.