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Friday, 8 June, 2001, 17:58 GMT 18:58 UK

Sinn Fein 'greens' the West

Sinn Fein has won two extra seats in the general election and becomes the main nationalist party.

It's gains, from the Ulster Unionist party in West Tyrone and Fermanagh South Tyrone, have seen it overtake the SDLP.

It stayed on three seats.

Sinn Fein were ecstatic as the results came though.

The new MP for West Tyrone Pat Doherty said: "What a magnificent victory" to uproarious applause in Omagh Leisure Centre.

In Fermanagh Michelle Gildernew spoke of a stunning win as she took the seat there by 53 votes.

The Ulster candidate James Cooper has said he did not accept the result.

He said there was clear and irrefutable evidence of electoral malpractice which may be challenged in court.

"This election victory will be short-lived," he added after the recount.

In Mid-Ulster Martin McGuinness retained the seat for Sinn Fein and added 5,000 to his majority.

The SDLP's vote went down by about 3,000.

In West Belfast the Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams easily took his seat again with an massively increased majority over his main rival in the SDLP Alex Attwood.


Mr Attwood's vote collapsed by 10,000 on the 1997 result for his party.

In Londonderry the SDLP leader John Hume was returned again but his share of the vote was slightly down in favour of Sinn Fein.

The Deputy leader of the SDLP Seamus Mallon regained his seat but by a narrower margin than in 1997.

Sinn Fein's Conor Murphy increased his vote substantially.

The South Down MP Eddie McGrady has also regained his seat.

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