Page last updated at 19:08 GMT, Monday, 8 June 2009 20:08 UK

In quotes: NI European election

As counting of Northern Ireland votes in the European Parliamentary election continues in Belfast, politicians have been giving their reaction to events so far.

JIM NICHOLSON, ULSTER CONSERVATIVES AND UNIONISTS

"I look forward to going back to Europe, to continue fighting for Northern Ireland, but in an even stronger way with 26 other Conservative MEPs.

"Jim Allister was elected five years ago as a DUP candidate and we have him back today with a new party.

"We have got to reflect and think how we can get around some of the problems that Unionism has at this moment in time, but it's more a problem for the DUP than for us.

"Our party has consolidated its vote and it's good for the Ulster Unionist and Conservative link."

JIM ALLISTER, TRADITIONAL UNIONIST VOICE

"I told commentators at the beginning that we'd stun them with our performance.

Allister: Delight at results outcome

"I'm delighted to have captured something in the order of 14% of the entire vote, which approximates to about 30% of the unionist vote.

"From a cold start, as a new party, I think that is a remarkable achievement.

"It shows the depth of feeling that there is among many unionists who refuse to be rolled over in the era of Sinn Fein rule, who have quite rightly a resentment against those who betrayed them, deceived them, conned them, in the assembly election."

DIANE DODDS, DEMOCRATIC UNIONIST PARTY

"But I go to Strasbourg in the knowledge that I have the support of tens of thousands of ordinary unionists, and a strong team at Stormont and at Westminster, to work for Northern Ireland.

"To those on this occasion who did not vote, we will redouble our efforts to win them back.

"We are determined to advance the cause of unionism, thwart the republican agenda and to do the very best for the people of Northern Ireland."

ALBAN MAGINNESS, SDLP

"I'm delighted that the SDLP has increased its percentage share of the vote from 15.9% in 2004 and 15.2% in the Assembly elections of 2007 to a total of 16.2% this time around.

"This is down to the hard work and long hours put in by my party colleagues and campaign team. I'm heartened by the SDLP's performance which has consolidated our position and shows clear signs of hope for the future.

"Naturally, I'm disappointed not to have won a seat, not just for myself but for the people of the north. Furthermore, I'm deeply disappointed that more than 52% of the electorate chose not to cast a vote in this election.

"It's important that people use their vote if they want to effect real change and the SDLP is confident that we can redouble our efforts and engage with the electorate once again."

GERRY ADAMS, SINN FEIN PRESIDENT

"It is a long-term job to build political strength across the island.

"Obviously, a lot of the energy and stamina of the party has been (focused on) trying to settle the peace process, and trying to hold and bed down the political institutions.

"That's a national objective for us - to build an all-Ireland party which is significant and relevant is totally unprecedented.

"Rather than us plateauing out, we have consolidated our position to make further gains."

STEVEN AGNEW, GREEN PARTY CANDIDATE

"We're certainly going to improve on the last European election and possibly the assembly election as well.

"I think traditionally we transfer all over the place - the pro-European candidates will do well from Green transfers.

"I can see some of them going to the SDLP and Alliance because they ran positive campaigns.

"I don't think Sammy Wilson did the DUP any favours for getting transfers from the Greens."

IAN PARSLEY, ALLIANCE CANDIDATE

"This is our best election result this century and our second best ever in Europe.

"Alliance has made a genuine breakthrough and given that we historically don't perform well in European elections, this indicates we are well placed to make gains in the next assembly elections.

"In the context of an election that some thought we could not win and others were casting protest votes, it is humbling to receive this good vote.

"I hope this result has helped to restore the faith of young people in politics and I want to thank my campaign team and activists for all their hard work."



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