At approximately 3.25am this morning the Election Result for Newry and Armagh was announced.
The Sinn Fein candidate Conor Murphy was re-elected whilst I obtained 545 votes, nearly double the amount cast when Alliance last contested an election in the Newry & Armagh constituency in 2007.
This was my first election campaign and I can't wait to contest my next election! I found the General Election to be very enjoyable and highly motivating experience.
During the last number of weeks I spent nearly every evening and weekend busy promoting the Alliance Party, passionately advocating the values and policies we stand for. Whilst I spent a lot of my time in North Down, whether it be in Newry and Armagh, North Down or East Belfast I heard a clear message over the last few weeks. People want change. Northern Ireland increasingly wants to move away from the tribal politics of division and towards a new Shared Future.
The ongoing growth of the Alliance Party is a positive beacon of hope in the midst of dissident Republican activity a yet more talk of "Unionist Unity".
Naomi Long's election as Alliance MP for East Belfast demonstrates that people want elected representatives that work hard for their electorate and have a strong vision for a new inclusive Northern Ireland based upon a Shared Society.
As the Alliance Party candidate in Newry and Armagh I particularly want to thank all those who voted for me plus those who supported my Nomination. I also want to thank my Election Agent Tom Barclay who has proven to be enormously helpful and a real source of inspiration. I am also grateful for the support offered by Alan, my partner, plus Alliance Party staff. Without the support of Alliance Party Headquarters Staff and my local MLA it would not have been possible for me to stand as a candidate in Newry and Armagh.
Plenty of people said we couldn't do it. They said that the Alliance Party was irrelevant. After the election of Naomi Long MP and with our vote growing across N Ireland the clear message from General Election 2010 is Yes we can!
7 May 2010