The European Elections: Hume nearly overtakes Paisley
Belfast-born David McKittrick has been reporting on Northern Ireland since 1971, He has written for the East Antrim Times, the Irish Times and was The Independent's Irish correspondent for many years. He is the author of several books including Making Sense of the Troubles (2000) and Lost Lives (1999).
Tuesday 14 June 1994
The Rev Ian Paisley topped the poll for the fourth time in succession, but Mr Hume's vote rose so sharply he almost overtook the Democratic Unionist Party leader. The third successful candidate, who was elected on the second count under the system of proportional representation, was Jim Nicholson of the Ulster Unionist Party. This means that there is no change in Northern Ireland's three representatives in the Strasbourg parliament.
The Sinn Fein vote increased slightly, its three candidates polling 55,000 votes, compared with 49,000 in 1989. But this was overshadowed by Mr Hume's vote, which went up from 136,000 to almost 162,000. He increased his party's share of the nationalist vote from 65 per cent in last year's council elections to 75 per cent - his party's best-ever performance and one which demonstrated that the Hume-Adams initiative has widespread support among Catholics and nationalists.
On the Unionist side, Mr Paisley's vote dropped less than 1 per cent. He had sought to turn the campaign into a referendum on the Downing Street declaration, which he described as 'a love letter from John Major to Gerry Adams'. This brought him few new voters, while the rival Ulster Unionist Party's much more subdued campaign brought in its regular support.
The results will bring little cheer to the Government, which is anxious to restart political talks. Mr Paisley's son, Ian, said yesterday: 'No round- table talks. We're out of that process.' The Government can only hope the DUP will change its mind and join in the discussions later. The Ulster Unionists, however, have a track record of avoiding any risky political deals while Mr Paisley remains strong and breathing down their necks, so the prospects are not promising.
The moderate Alliance party fared badly, dropping about 5,000 votes since 1989. The Northern Ireland Conservatives did even worse, plummeting from 25,000 to 5,000 and virtually disappearing off the political map.
The next big development on the political agenda is the definitive Sinn Fein response to the Downing Street declaration. An important speech is scheduled to be made next weekend at a traditional anniversary at Bodenstown, but Sinn Fein sources say the final response will be given some time after that.
- 1 Al Pacino on suffering from depression: 'It can last and it's terrifying'
- 2 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 3 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
Perez Hilton apologises for publishing Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak
Jennifer Lawrence 'nude photo hacker' claims there are hundreds more celebrity images to be published
Victoria Justice on naked photo leak: 'Let me nip this in the bud right now – pun intended'
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
Ariana Grande nude photos leak: Pictures are completely fake, say singer's representatives
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain
£30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organ...
£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glob...
£50 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a Teaching Assistant...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Ltd are seeking KS...