“I made history,” beamed Claire Sugden, arms aloft within the Magherafelt depend centre.
The transfer-friendly former justice minister, returned in East Derry, has change into the primary Independent – and now longest-serving MLA – to be elected to the Stormont Assembly 3 times.
The added significance of that achievement on a weekend which has seen so many ladies MLAs lose their seats was not misplaced on Sugden.
She stated: “I am so sorry to see so many great women losing their seats today . Your contribution has been incredible and Northern Ireland is much better for it.”
At the top of counting within the constituency, which stretches from the Sperrins to the Atlantic, on Saturday night, a majority of these elected within the five-seater have been ladies: Caoimhe Archibald, Cara Hunter and Sugden.
Sinn Fein’s outgoing MLA Archibald topped the ballot on 6,868 votes, however was nicely shy of the 7,394 quota on the primary depend.
But first throughout the road was DUP stalwart Maurice Bradley, with transfers making up the distinction to his 6,786 first preferences late on Friday night.
The gradual tempo of the depend continued on Saturday, earlier than a welter of elections in fast succession.
The DUP’s Alan Robinson stored his 80-year-old father George’s seat within the household, sustaining the social gathering’s two seats in East Derry. “They don’t make them like George any more,” his son stated in tribute throughout his profitable speech.
It was not till the tenth depend that Hunter was elected for the SDLP, with out assembly the quota. Hunter was returned to the seat she was co-opted on to after the loss of life of widespread consultant John Dallat in 2020.
Last 12 months she revealed she was identified with a “life-altering” mind tumour. After securing her seat she too paid tribute to all the ladies who had stood, win or lose.
Sinn Féin had been hopeful at one stage of profitable a second seat, with Kathleen McGurk constructing on 4,500 first preferences, however she was in the end eradicated. The Alliance Party’s Chris McCaw additionally polled moderately, with 3,338 first preferences.
Five seats stuffed: Maurice Bradley (DUP), Alan Robinson (DUP), Caoimhe Archibald (Sinn Féin), Claire Sugden (Independent), Cara Hunter (SDLP).