The 2004 European elections

The 2004 European elections took place on 10 June 2004, and the votes were counted on Monday 14 June. (See spreadsheet.) For the first time since 1979, the party distribution of Northern Ireland's MEPs changed, with Sinn Féin's Bairbre de Brún taking the seat formerly held by the SDLP's John Hume (who had retired). For the DUP, Jim Allister held the seat previously won by Ian Paisley, who had also retired.

A predictions contest was held.

For more information about the European Parliament and European elections see the 2009 European elections page.

The 2004 European Elections

The DUP candidate was barrister Jim Allister, who was elected to the 1982-86 Assembly for North Antrim, came close to winning the new East Antrim seat in the 1983 Westminster election, and was a councillor in Newtownabbey from 1985 to 1989.

The Sinn Féin candidate was Bairbre de Brún, elected in West Belfast in both the 1998 and 2003 Assembly elections, and a candidate on SF's regional list in 1996.

The UUP candidate was Jim Nicholson, who has been an MEP since 1989 and was previously MP for Newry and Armagh from 1983-1986, a member of the 1982-86 Assembly for Armagh, and a councillor in Armagh from 1977 to 1997.

The SDLP candidate was Martin Morgan, a member of Belfast City Council since 1993 (and Lord Mayor in 2003-2004), who narrowly missed out on being elected in North Belfast in both the 1996 forum/talks election and the 1998 Assembly election.

The Alliance Party, Workers Party, Conservatives, Labour and a number of independent councillors backed an independent candidate, John Gilliland, the outgoing President of the Ulster Farmers Union. Website now archived here.

The Green Party candidate was Lindsay Whitcroft, who stood for the Alliance Party in 1997 in the Crotlieve DEA of Newry and Mourne and (with me) in 1996 in the forum/talks election in North Belfast.

The Socialist Environmental Alliance candidate was Eamonn McCann, best known as a journalist but who stood under the same banner for the 2003 Assembly election in Foyle; he had previously run as an NILP candidate in the old Foyle seat for the last NI House of Commons election in 1969 and stood for the Westminster seat of Londonderry as an independent Labour candidate in 1970.

The first count results were as follows:
Jim Allister (DUP) 175,761 (32.0%) up 3.6%; elected on first count.
Bairbre De Brún (SF) 144,541 (26.3%) up 9.0%; elected on first count.
Jim Nicholson (UUP) 91,164 (16.6%) down 1.0%.
Martin Morgan (SDLP) 87,559 (15.9%) down 12.1%.
John Gilliland (Independent) 36,270 (6.6%).
Eamonn McCann (SEA) 9,172 (1.6%).
Lindsay Whitcroft (Green) 4,810 (0.9%).

The total electorate was 1,072,669; the number of votes cast was 554,744; 5,467 (1.0%) were spoiled leaving 549,277 valid; and the quota was thus 137,320.

On the second count, Allister's 38,441 suprlus votes were redistributed as follows:
Jim Nicholson (UUP) +33,482 to new total of 124,646.
John Gilliland (Independent) +3,119 to new total of 39,390.
Martin Morgan (SDLP) +450 to new total of 88,010.
Lindsay Whitcroft (Greens) +324 to new total of 5,134.
Eamonn McCann (SEA) +96 to new total of 9,268.

At this point de Brún's 7,221 surplus, even if added to Gilliland, Whitcroft and McCann's votes combined, could not have made a difference, so for the third and final count the bottom three candidates were eliminated and their votes redistributed as follows:
Jim Nicholson (UUP) +22,412 to new total of 147,058.
Martin Morgan (SDLP) +20,522 to new total of 108,531.

Nicholson was now 9,738 above the quota and so was declared elected.

Past elections


This graph shows the performances of the main parties in the five direct elections to the European parliament held so far (fuller details in table below). You can find a summary of the results of the five most recent NI elections elsewhere and on a different page is a summary of NI election results since 1973.

See also:

Other sites based at ARK: ORB (Online Research Bank) | CAIN (Conflict Archive on the INternet) | Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey

Your comments, please! Send an email to me at

Nicholas Whyte, 18 April 2004

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Disclaimer:© Nicholas Whyte 1998-2004 Last Updated on Sunday, 07-Jun-2009 18:52