In quotes: Reaction to the NI Assembly election


Senior figures from across Northern Ireland's political spectrum have been reacting to the results of the March 2017 Northern Ireland Assembly elections.

Arlene Foster, DUP leader

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"[The Renewable Heat Incentive scandal] may have been the excuse but it certainly wasn't the cause of the election.

"The cause of the election was Sinn Féin and republicanism wanting to rerun the election, they have mobilised their vote in a very effective way."

Michelle O'Neill, Sinn Féin Northern leader

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Image caption,
Michelle O'Neill (right)

"We fought a positive campaign and the public responded well. We will be at Stormont on Monday and have a job of work to deal with.

"I have said when Sinn Féin win, we win for all."

Mike Nesbitt, outgoing UUP leader

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"I am the one who suggested that in a normal society people would vote on performance and that the DUP and Sinn Féin did not earn another mandate.

"They certainly did not give me a mandate big enough to feel justified in continuing in this position, so I shall not."

Colum Eastwood, SDLP leader

"This is a victory for those who chose devolution over direct rule, for those who want power sharing to work.

"It is now incumbent on all parties to ensure that power is retained in our Assembly, not handed back to Theresa May and James Brokenshire."

Naomi Long, Alliance leader

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"It has been a good day for Alliance. Our vote is up and in constituencies where we have been weak, we have seen the effort we put in trying to build the vote, pay off in terms of vote share.

It's very positive and I hope that translates into something positive for trying to get devolution established."

Alban Maginness, former SDLP MLA

"What will now concern people is the very existence of this place as a political entity. People have rejected the middle ground, the non sectarian power-sharing approach. These two parties (DUP and Sinn Féin) are not going to share power."

James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

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"Everyone now has a shared responsibility to engage intensively in the short period of time that is available to us, to ensure that a strong and stable administration is established.

"It is with this positive intent that the UK government approaches the days ahead."

Lord Trimble, former First Minister and ex-Ulster Unionist leader

"Mike Nesbitt did the right thing by resigning because if he hadn't, there would have been an unpleasant discussion (within his party).

The talks now will be between the DUP and Sinn Féin and the SDLP and UUP are brought in as a decoration."

Jeffrey Donaldson, DUP MP

"We now have a situation where the two parties are neck-and-neck and that is a reality we have to deal with, and we have to listen to the concerns of people expressed during the election.

"Like all parties there are lessons that we need to learn."

Charlie Flanagan, Irish Foreign Affairs minister

"The high turnout demonstrates the continued support of the people of Northern Ireland for the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement and devolved power-sharing government.

"Now the politicians they elected must come together to establish an executive which can operate effectively and deliver for all of the people of Northern Ireland in a spirit of partnership and mutual respect."

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