Counting restarts for Fermanagh South Tyrone

Counting has begun again at the Meadow View Sports Arena this morning, with four candidates still to be selected for Fermanagh South Tyrone.
There were jubilant scenes here yesterday as Sinn Fein’s Jemma Dolan was elected on the first round of counting, after comfortably reaching the quota with a very strong vote in this year’s election.
Sinn Fein have been returning a strong vote overall and – barring any huge surprises as surplus transfers are distributed today – it looks like both Colm Gildernew and Aine Murphy will be elected today. It will mean all three Fermanagh South Tyrone MLAs for the party will retain their seat.
It also looks like the DUP’s Deborah Erskine will retain her seat, which she was co-opted on to after former First Minister Arlene Foster’s resignation, however her vote has not been quite as strong as her predecessor had enjoyed in previous elections.
Again, transfers will be key when it comes to the unionist seats, with the TUVs Alex Elliott seeing the party receiving it’s strongest vote here ever, in keeping with how the party has fared across the North. Mr Elliott is unlikely to be elected – although it is not impossible – and with just over 3,000 first preference votes of his to be distributed, it is unclear whether the UUP’s Tom Elliott or the DUP’s Paul Bell will see them coming to them.
The UUP’s outgoing MLA Rosemary Barton eliminated in the last round of counting before things wrapped up last night, and with her transfers likely to go to Mr Elliott.
So, at this stage of the morning and with the caveat that there is a very long way to go with counting today, it looks like it’s going to much of the same in FST for the next five years, with three Sinn Fein, one DUP, and one UUP candidate, although Tom Elliott will likely be replacing party colleague Rosemary Barton.
Stay tuned to our liveblog for updates throughout the day.

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