Assembly election 2016: No change in East Antrim as Ross and McMullan take final two seats

Successful DUP candidates David Hilditch, Alastair Ross and Gordon Lyons with their campaign team and party supporters
Successful DUP candidates David Hilditch, Alastair Ross and Gordon Lyons with their campaign team and party supporters

The DUP’s Alastair Ross and Sinn Fein’s Oliver McMullan took the last two seats in the East Antrim constituency.

They retained their seats at the expense of UKIP candidate Noel Jordan, who narrowly missed out by just over 100 votes after 12 stages of counting.

Sinn Fein's Oliver McMullan awaits the outcome of the count at the Valley Leisure Centre.

Sinn Fein's Oliver McMullan awaits the outcome of the count at the Valley Leisure Centre.

The result means it’s as you were in East Antrim, with David Hilditch, Gordon Lyons, Alastair Ross (all DUP), Roy Beggs (UUP), Stewart Dickson (Alliance) and Oliver McMullan (SF) all retaining their seats.

A relieved Mr Ross commented: “We are delighted that we have secured three seats. We always knew it was going to be tight for the last two seats, but we thank the electorate for coming out and endorsing what I think is a positive vision from the Democratic Unionist Party. We do have a positive vision about creating more jobs, about a better health system, getting investment in education and most of all keeping household bills low.”

Thanking the electorate of East Antrim for returning him to Stormont, Mr McMullan said: “This is a ringing endorsement of the Sinn Fein policy. In 2011 we had to fight for the seat and in 2016 we’re still fighting for it and we’ve got it again. We look forward to working with everybody in the democratic process.”

Cllr Jordan was pleased with his performance, having attracted more than 2,200 first preference votes. And while disappointed at having missed out on a seat, he was accepting of the democratic decision of the electorate.

UKIP NI leader David McNarry (left) with the party's East Antrim candidate Noel Jordan

UKIP NI leader David McNarry (left) with the party's East Antrim candidate Noel Jordan

All the candidates thanked deputy returning officer Janet Goodall and her staff for the way in which the count process was managed and carried out over the two days.