Sinn Fein’s Mickey Brady says he will continue to fight Brexit as he thanked the thousands of voters who came out and supported him in the General Election.
The re-elected MP tallied 20,287 votes, which was over 9,000 more than the DUP’s William Irwin, who hit 11,000 in second place.
The SDLP increased their vote share with 9,449 boxes marked with an X in their favour.
“Thank you to the people of Newry & Armagh for electing me as MP,” said the victorious Mr Brady.
“Sinn Féin fought a strong and positive campaign and I look forward to continuing my work representing the people of this constituency.”
He added: ““I also wish to thank all those activists who, in this extremely important election, worked tirelessly to ensure that Sinn Féin’s mandate has been accepted by the electorate here in Newry and Armagh.
“I will keep working for all my constituents in every part of this constituency.
“Along with my Sinn Féin colleagues we will continue to represent people where it matters and to stand up against Brexit.”
Mr Irwin also thanked those who came out and supported him.
“I want firstly to thank the voters of Newry and Armagh for their very valued support at this election,” he said.
“This support is not taken for granted and I very much appreciate the endorsement of my efforts to deliver for everyone in the constituency.
“I want to also thank my election team of workers led by Alderman Gareth Wilson and councillor Lavelle McIlwrath who worked tirelessly throughout the campaign in the winter weather and I thank them for their unwavering support.”
He added: “It is unfortunate that once again this constituency has endorsed a candidate who won’t attend Westminster.
“This abstentionism does the constituency no favours and especially in this climate where voters place a high value on participation in government and voters clearly want people who will go and speak on their behalf. This will not be the case in Newry and Armagh.
“This election also shows there is a desire for people to see Stormont restored and that was a key part of my campaigning.
I stated clearly that people wanted to see local people making local decisions.
“Sinn Fein should drop their damaging pre-conditions and get back to Stormont to deal with the pressing issues such as our Health and Social Care Services.”
SDLP candidate Peter Byrne said he was “humbled” by the level of support he received and “delighted to increase the SDLP vote across the constituency”.
“Thank you to my entire canvass team who fought an energetic, positive campaign as we covered thousands of doors discussing all the issues that matter to you,” he said.
“A big thanks to my election agent Nathan Murray for running a campaign of honesty and integrity.
“For me, politics is all about the people and for too long they have been let down through lack of representation.
“I sincerely hope that all parties can get round the table in Monday and get Stormont up and running so we can get back to serving the people once again.
“Congratulations to Colum and Claire on the huge mandate received by the people of Derry and South Belfast. A very proud day for the SDLP.
“Finally I wish to congratulate Mickey Brady and I hope he serves our constituents well over the next five years.
“For me, I’ve just rolled up my sleeves.”