The Electoral Office for Northern Ireland's decision to house a super count centre in Magherafelt, Co. Londonderry, in conjunction with its other two mega-count centres in Belfast and Jordanstown, has been widely panned.

Due to a huge influx of people to the centre, many candidates, elections agents and their teams were unable to get access before the boxes were opened due to their only being one entry point for everyone, meaning many missed out on tallying some of those important votes.

The heavy rain dousing those waiting entry at the start of the day didn't help the common mood.

Day one was further marked by the frustrations of poor Wi-Fi and very little space for the attending Press, with many tables set aside for the media instead found occupied by various camps of political parties.

Thankfully, The County Derry Post team took sympathy on The Impartial Reporter and allowed our team to share a table and a power outlet.

As for the day's purpose – the counting and electoral declarations – the Fermanagh and South Tyrone district often felt like an afterthought, with candidates and press being called for an announcement for the area “in five minutes”, but waiting for up to 20 minutes at a time while two to three other constituencies were announced instead.

Press and candidates were left sharing looks more than once as other constituencies had their results called out instead.

One local Assembly candidate sighed: “They always forget about Fermanagh and South Tyrone” – words that would come to mind again more than once the next day.

Moving on to Day Two, and the day was marked by a count that at times felt like it would never end, with no one having any idea when the count would finish for Fermanagh and South Tyrone.

The day was also marked by a lack of soap and toilet paper in the ladies’ toilets – there were just five cubicles for the few hundred women at the centre, which went not unnoticed by those in attendance.

One of the big stories of the election was the return to politics of the UUP's Tom Elliott. However, just as Mr. Elliott was being deemed elected, a media scrum developed awaiting the arrival of Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle O’Neill, leaving Mr. Elliott and his team with the attention of just a few journalists as his electoral victory came to pass.

One of the most interesting things when observing other counts occur was watching women top the polls. All the females who topped the polls across Northern Ireland were from Sinn Féin, including in Fermanagh and South Tyrone, where Jemma Dolan topped the poll for the party.

Locally, there were seven women on the ballot of 16 candidates for the area, with Aine Murphy and Deborah Erskine also elected as MLAs this time round.

However, more needs to be done to ensure female representation in the Northern Ireland Assembly, with just 32 women of 90 MLAs to Stormont elected – some 36 per cent of public representatives.

Losing their only female representative in Rosemary Barton will be a blow for the Ulster Unionist Party, who failed to get re-elected.

The loss of other high-profile female MLAs – such as Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon, and Green Party leader Clare Bailey – will also be felt in the Assembly.

Much has improved for female representation since the formation of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

On June 7, 1998, there were 14 women elected to the Assembly, out of 108 seats, comprising just 7.7 per cent of MLAs; in 2011, 20 women were elected to the 108, boosting that figure to 18.5 per cent.

However, it would be remiss to pretend all is now great for women who enter politics – in the lead-up to the election, both the DUP’s Diane Forsyth, and SDLP’s Cara Hunter were subject to vile harassment and abuse.

The abuse of female politicians is not new, but is now serving as a barrier for women entering political life.

Perhaps before we enter our next election, be it in five months or in five years, parties will put greater consideration into the role of women in public life.