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Tuesday, 12 June, 2001, 12:38 GMT 13:38 UK

UUP loses 31 council seats

The results of the Northern Ireland council election have mirrored those of the general election with the biggest gains for the DUP and Sinn Fein.

The second day of counting saw the Ulster Unionist Party take the highest number of seats with 154 councillors elected.

However, the party's final number of seats is down by 31 from the last election in 1997.

The DUP has taken an extra 40 seats on 1997 with a total of 131.

Its leader Ian Paisley said the DUP gains were another sign that time was "running out" for the UUP and David Trimble.

He declared: "If his party sustains him they will be destroying themselves. "They are already partially destroyed, and there are even councillors who have been elected just recently who are now making overtures to come over and join us."

Meanwhile Sinn Fein has increased its seats by 34 to 108.

It has become the biggest party in Belfast as well as in six council areas in the west of the province.

The Belfast gains will make it much more likely that the city will soon have its first Sinn Fein Lord Mayor.

Sinn Fein's wins are another blow for the SDLP.

It dropped three seats to 117 though it argues its vote has held relatively steady.

But there is again a perception that the party has been unable to win the votes of young nationalists in the way Sinn Fein has.

The final results were as follows.

  • UUP 154
  • DUP 131
  • SDLP 117
  • Sinn Fein 108
  • Alliance 28
  • Others 44

    Among the well known names who failed to get re-elected in Belfast City Council are long-serving Ulster Unionist Fred Proctor and the former leader of the Alliance group Mervyn Jones.

    In Derry City Council, Donncha MacNiallais of Sinn Fein missed out on a seat.

    And two veteran unionists have lost out - Ernie Hamilton and Jim Guy.

    The Northern Ireland Women's Coalition won a seat in North Down.

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