Mickey Brady holds on to Newry and Armagh seat
IF one was compiling a thesaurus entry for the word `certainty', they would add expressions and phrases including foregone conclusion, reality, surety and inevitable result.
They could also add three-time poll-topper Mickey Brady to that list.
This was as comfortable a victory as it gets, albeit not as emphatic as two years ago. Sinn Féin's vote actually dropped by almost 8 per cent this time.
Losing 5,000-plus votes would be enough to unseat incumbents elsewhere, but the border constituency remains one of Sinn Féin's safest.
Almost four in every 10 voters continue to mark an `X' beside the Sinn Féin candidate.
The 39.95 per cent of the total vote is the first time the party's share has dipped below 40 per cent since 2001, however.
Nevertheless, no other candidate has come close in the last five general elections.
In a constituency that voted strongly to remain in the EU, Mr Brady used his speech to say Brexit "is a non-runner" and remain parties were in the ascendancy, seemingly oblivious to results in Britain.
"I don't think anyone for a moment believes that any British government, particularly the one that has been elected, will do anything to ensure that we have prosperity," Mr Brady said.
"I will work very hard to ensure that the people of Newry and Armagh have a bright and positive future."
He added that the time had come for a united Ireland.
"The whole issue around unity is no longer an aspiration. It has very much become a project," Mr Brady said.
DUP assembly member William Irwin was runner up, as he was in 2017 also. The party's percentage share dropped by about 3 per cent but it polled more than double than the UUP.
Among the other parties, the SDLP improved on its performance from last time, even without its big name candidate Justin McNulty. Armagh councillor Pete Byrne helped his party's share rise by almost 2 per cent, but this was still less than the SDLP managed in 2015.
The UUP and its candidate Sam Nicholson, son of former MP Jim Nicholson, received almost exactly the same percentage share as they did in 2017.
It was the Alliance Party that made the biggest gain. Its candidate, Jackie Coade more than doubled the number of votes she received in 2017, bumping the UUP down into fifth place overall by just seven votes.
Contesting its first general election, Aontú finished a distant sixth.
CANDIDATE VOTE % since 2017
Mickey Brady (SF) 20,287 (40.0%) -7.95%
William Irwin (DUP) 11,000 (21.7%) -2.93%
Pete Byrne (SDLP) 9,449 (18.6%) +1.71%
Jackie Coade (ALL) 4,211 ( 8.3%) +5.95%
Sam Nicholson (UUP) 4,204 ( 8.3%) +0.02%
Martin Kelly (Aontú) 1,628 ( 3.2%) n/a
Turnout: 51,120 (63%) -5.5%