N. Ireland Politics

Northern Ireland council election: 582 seats declared

All 582 seats have been declared in the elections to NI's 26 councils, with losses for the DUP, UUP and the SDLP and gains for Sinn Fein and Alliance.

In Belfast, Alliance again holds the balance of power while the UUP are down to three council seats.

The DUP has won 175 seats (182 in the last election), Sinn Fein 138 (126), the Ulster Unionist Party 99 (115), the SDLP 87 (101) and Alliance 44 (30).

The TUV won six seats, Greens took three, the PUP two and others 28.

The DUP and UUP agreed to a coalition on Castlereagh Council after the DUP lost overall control.

The first result emerged 45 minutes after counting began on Monday morning to fill 582 seats in 26 councils.

The last council ward to declare its final tally was Balmoral in Belfast, where the SDLP's Bernie Kelly was elected on the ninth count.

The results have largely mirrored those in the Northern Ireland Assembly poll with the DUP and Sinn Fein well ahead of their rivals.

In the 2005 council elections, the DUP received 30% of the overall vote, Sinn Fein 23%, UUP 18%, SDLP 17% and Alliance 5%.

The DUP made gains in areas such as Belfast and Lisburn, but lost overall control of Castlereagh due to gains made by Alliance and the Green Party.

The DUP's Sharon Skillen, who won the seat previously held by the DUP's Iris Robinson, lost her seat.

Sinn Fein's Oliver McMullan won a seat in Larne, topping the poll in his ward.

Paul Berry, who was suspended from the DUP in 2005, was re-elected to Armagh City Council as an independent.

However, former Sinn Fein assembly member Gerry McHugh lost his seat on Fermanagh District Council.

UUP Assembly Member Basil McCrea said his party needed to conduct a fundamental review following its poor showing.

"I do think that we have had a complete melt-down of our vote in the urban centres, particularly in the east," he said.

"There have been some very difficult results in my own city council, in Lisburn.

"When you look at the vote for the MLAs, there's been very challenging outcomes there too. This is not something we can duck. This needs a fundamental review.

"If we do not deal with this, it will be the end of the party."

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