Francie Molloy wins Mid-Ulster by-election
Sinn Féin's Francie Molloy has become Ireland's newest MP securing the Mid-Ulster by-election seat with a comfortable margin over his nearest rivals. The by-election was caused when Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness stepped down from the MP position in line with party policy of ending the practice of double-jobbing for MPs and MLAs.
Speaking after the result was declared at the Cookestown Leisure Centre early this morning (8 March 2013) Francie said: "I would like to thank my colleague and comrade Martin McGuinness for the work he has done this past 15 years in moving Mid Ulster forward."
He went on to say "Martin is going to be a hard act to follow, I understand that, but we will try our best to do that and we will continue to build the process and work with everyone - I want to represent all the people of Mid Ulster, not just those who voted for me, not just the Sinn Fein support."
Francie Molloy secured 17,462 votes (47%) to the 12,781 (34%) polled by his closest rival, agreed unionist Nigel Lutton.
Commenting on the result former MP for the area, Martin McGuinness said, “It sends out a very powerful message that the people of South Derry and East Tryone are rock-solid behind Sinn Féin's peace strategy. This is a great result for Sinn Féin and we are absolutely delighted to see Francie take over the mantle tonight.”
Commenting on Twitter Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said: "Obair maith Francie. Comhghairdeas. Well done Francie Molloy MP. Thanks 2 everyone who worked and voted for Sinn Féin!"
In a further tweet he encouraged support for the Sinn Féin candidate, Darren O'Rourke, in the upcoming Meath East by-election saying, "Well Francie Molloy. Its all over now. A new adventure. Thanks everyone. Me & Darren O Rourke soaked up the floating vote in a wet Meath East."