Polls close after voters brave wet weather across Northern Ireland

Polling stations have closed after voters across Northern Ireland braved a cold and wet day to vote in the General Election.

Voters travelled to more than 1,000 polling stations to decide who the region’s next 18 MPs will be.

Early reports suggest the polling stations have been busy throughout the day and particularly in the final hours before the polls closed at 10pm.

Michelle O'Neill
Michelle O’Neill offers members of the media some cakes (Niall Carson/PA)

At the last General Election in 2017, Northern Ireland saw a 65% turnout.

The figure this year will not be known until after the polls close and the ballot boxes are opened for counting.

Northern Ireland’s political leaders cast their votes earlier in the day.

Democratic Unionist leader Arlene Foster voted in Brookeborough, Co Fermanagh, a constituency where she is supporting a rival unionist as part of a pro-Union link-up to try to unseat Sinn Fein.

Sinn Fein’s Stormont leader Michelle O’Neill cast her ballot 40 miles away in her home village of Clonoe in Co Tyrone.

She called in to have a chat with party workers who have based themselves in a caravan outside the polling station all day.

In several seats, the republican party has joined forces with fellow pro-Remain parties the SDLP and Greens to maximise the chances of defeating DUP Brexiteers.

Colum Eastwood with his family after voting at Model Primary School in Londonderry
Colum Eastwood with his family after voting at Model Primary School in Londonderry (Colum Eastwood/PA)

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood was accompanied by his wife Rachael and their children Maya and Rosa as he voted in Londonderry.

While Mr Eastwood’s party has stood aside to help a Sinn Fein candidate in North Belfast – a move that has been reciprocated by Sinn Fein in South Belfast – the parties are going head to head in Derry in what is set to be a close-run battle for the Foyle seat.

Elsewhere, Ulster Unionist leader Steve Aiken arrived at Upper Ballyboley Primary School in East Antrim to cast his ballot with his wife Beth.

Alliance leader Naomi Long voted shortly afterwards in East Belfast.

Mrs Long, accompanied by her husband Michael, is hoping for a repeat of her victory in 2010 when she dethroned Stormont’s then-first minister Peter Robinson.

There are 102 candidates standing in the election, with 1,293,971 eligible voters able to cast their ballots.

Read Full Story