With the recent success at the local Council elections, it was touted from early one that Alliance party leader, Naomi Long, was in a strong position to take the third seat in the European Parliament elections.

And the shift to another form of politics away from Green and Orange hit another landmark when Mrs. Long was elected to the second European seat.

Northern Ireland will have three female representatives in Europe with Diane Dodds of the DUP and Sinn Féin’s Martina Anderson retaining their seats.

Pro-European Mrs. Long said the vote showed that the region still wanted to remain in the EU.

“For those who try to misappropriate it – and try to put it into unionist and nationalist boxes – I am not having that,” she said.

“The people who voted for me came together from right across the community, regardless of unionism, regardless of nationalism, regardless of all those labels, they came together behind Alliance to send a message. And that message is – we want to remain in the EU, give us a ‘People’s vote’ and let us have the final say.”

Alliance’s 18.5 per cent share of the vote was up over 11 per cent on the party’s performance in 2014.

Sinn Fein’s Martina Anderson topped the poll with 126,951 votes, though the party’s share was down more than three per cent on the 2014 election.

The DUP’s outgoing MEP Diane Dodds registered 124,991 first preferences, achieving a 1 per cent gain.

Mrs. Anderson said the result had sent a strong message to Europe.

“Absolutely delighted, our strategy has worked,” she said.

“We wanted to send a message back to the EU by, in the first instance, topping the poll and, more importantly, sending two Remainers back.

“Fifty seven per cent of the people who voted here voted to remain in the EU and they have sent a strong message back to Europe that they want to stay in the EU.”

Mrs. Dodds presented a very different analysis of the result.

“People want politicians to honour the result of the 2016 referendum and I will be working along with others to deliver a sensible Brexit deal that is good for Northern Ireland constitutionally and economically,” she said.

Despite the intense focus on Northern Ireland in the Brexit debate, the turnout of 45.14 per cent was down more than six per cent from the 2014 election.

The region, which voted 56 per cent Remain in the 2016 referendum, has now two Remain supporting MEPs and one Brexiteer.