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1982: Sinn Fein triumph in elections
Sinn Fein, the political wing of the Provisional IRA, has won its first seats in the elections to the new Ulster Assembly.

Gerry Adams, vice president of Sinn Fein, took the Belfast West seat. It is the first time his party has stood for election since the Troubles began.

Mr Adams, 34, made clear that being elected would not stop the IRA's campaign of violence.

"The IRA have said that while the British army is in Ireland they will be there fighting" he said.

As he emerged from City Hall in Belfast, where the votes were counted, he was met by chants of 'murderer' and 'scum' from members of the Democratic Unionist Party.

Former IRA 'brigade' commander Martin McGuinness was elected to a seat in Londonderry.

The seats gained by Sinn Fein are at the expense of the Social Democratic and Labour party (SDLP), traditionally a voice for Roman Catholics in Ulster.

'Dead as a Dodo'

Referring to the creation of the Ulster Assembly the leader of the SDLP John Hume said: "It's dead. It's dead as a dodo. There is no possibility of cross-community partnership; there is no possibility of devolution of power".

The elections were called to introduce a power sharing executive to Northern Ireland.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, James Prior, said it would be a while before the full implications of the results were apparent.

"We shall have to wait and see how it gets on. We are not going to change the situation in Northern Ireland quickly and I think we shall have to persevere. Every solution put forward in recent years has had great difficulties" he said.

The date of the first meeting of the 78-seat Ulster Assembly is yet to be announced.

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Gerry Adams, vice president of Sinn Fein
Sinn Fein's success has provoked a media furore

Sinn Fein win seats in new Ulster Assembly



In Context
When counting in the first Ulster assembly poll finished it was revealed that Sinn Fein had won 10.1% of the votes.

Neither Sinn Fein nor the SDLP took up their seats on the Assembly when it opened in November 1982. In 1986, following the withdrawal of several other parties the Assembly was dissolved.

In April 1998 the Good Friday Agreement was signed by the British and Irish governments. In June of the same year the Northern Ireland Assembly was resurrected with the SDLP taking most of the seats.

This power-sharing executive has been suspended four times. Lack of weapon decommissioning by the IRA and accusations of IRA intelligence gathering in the Northern Ireland office were the main causes.

The Northern Ireland Assembly met for the first time after a five year suspension in May 2007 with DUP leader Ian Paisley as first minister.

Stories From 21 Oct


 
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