The 1979 European elections

The 1979 European election was a dramatic triumph for Ian Paisley, who achieved the DUP's best result to date, humikliating the UUP. Paisley would continue to top the poll at European elections until 2004; it was some time before his party's vote as a whoel came near to his personal appeal.

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

The first preference votes cast in the European election in Northern Ireland on 7 June 1989 (see spreadsheet):

Democratic Unionist Party (Rev Ian Paisley MP)
170,688 (29.8%)
Social Democratic and Labour Party (John Hume)
140,622 (25.5%)
Ulster Unionist Party (John Taylor)
68,185 (11.9%)
Ulster Unionist Party (Harry West)
56,984 (10.0%)
Alliance Party (Oliver Napier)
39,026 (6.8%)
Ind Unionist (James Kilfedder MP)
38,198 (6.7%)
Independent (Bernadette McAliskey)
33,969 (5.9%)
United Community (David Bleakley)
9,383 (1.6%)
United Labour Party (Paddy Devlin)
6,122 (1.1%)
Unionist Party of Northern Ireland (Edward Cummings)
3,712 (0.6%)
Republican Clubs (Brian Brennan)
3,258 (0.6%)
Republican Clubs (Francis Donnelly)
1,160 (0.2%)
Liberal (James Murray)
932 (0.2%)
Turnout was 586,059 of the 1,0229,490 electorate. 13,773 votes were invalid; 572,239 votes were valid. The quota was 143,060.
Transfers: Stage 2
The DUP candidate (Paisley) was declared elected on the first count as his votes exceeded the quota (143,060).

Paisley's surplus of 27,628 was then distributed to the next available preference as follows:

Transfers: Stage 3
The votes of the bottom six candidates (Liberal, two Republican Clubs, UPNI, United Labour and United Community) in total were still less than McAliskey's, so they were all eliminated and their votes redistributed to the next available preference as follows:
NB: strictly speaking Hume received 22.0% of the available transfers, as he got enough from the eliminated candidates' first preferences to take him over the quota.
Transfers: Stage 4
The SDLP surplus of 3,000 could not have rescued the independent candidate, McAliskey, who was more than 9,000 votes behind the Alliance Party, so she was eliminated and her votes redistributed to the next available preference as follows:
Transfers: Stage 5
Alliance was less than 3,400 votes behind the independent Unionist, but it was margin enough for Napier to be eliminated and his votes transferred as follows:
Transfers: Stage 6
The UUP's weaker candidate, West, was eliminated (Kilfedder again having a crucial margin of 3,400) and his votes were distributed between Taylor and Kilfedder as follows:
(I confess I'm a little puzzled that Taylor, who was 46,653 votes short of the quota, was not declared elected after the distribution of West's 56,984 first preferences alone - that must have given him enough. Obviously all West's full-value votes were considered as a single block.)

Past elections


This graph shows the performances of the main parties in the five direct elections to the European parliament held so far (NB that the 2004 result in yellow is that of independent candidate John Gilliland, not the Alliance Party). You can find a summary of the results of the five most recent NI elections at all levels on this site's home page 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

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Nicholas Whyte, 18 April 2004

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Disclaimer: Nicholas Whyte 1998-2004 Last Updated on Saturday, 30-May-2009 10:43