SDLP candidate Dolores Kelly, who was returned to Stormont despite fears she might be a high profile casualty of the election, said the decline in turnout had badly hit her party.
Mrs Kelly admitted she was relieved when the Alliance transfers pushed her through but declared she had made it “on her record”.
“The DUP and Sinn Fein fought a rather nasty campaign and it makes it difficult for us in the middle,” she said. “But I made it on my record, despite the determined bid by Sinn Fein to unseat me in Upper Bann.
“True, they worked hard, but they just don’t have the support in this constituency for two seats - as was proven in 2007 and again this time.”
Despite predictions that the Ulster Unionists had been too ambitious in fielding three candidates and questions over whether Sinn Fein would bring home a second seat and if Harry Hamiltion would surprise everyone with a snatch for Alliance, nothing changed in party terms, with two DUP, two Ulster Unionists, one Sinn Fein and one SDLP member back at Stormont.
Five out of six re-took their seats – poll-topper John O’Dowd for Sinn Fein, Sydney Anderson and Stephen Moutray (DUP), Dolores Kelly (SDLP) and Sam Gardiner (UUP) all returned, with Jo-Anne Dobson the sole newcomer. She replaced fellow party member George Savage who was de-selected.