Sinn Féin has become the largest political party in Northern Ireland’s local councils.
The party gained 144 seats out of 462, an increase of 39 compared to 2019 local elections.
At the ballot, Sinn Féin gained 7.7% more first preference votes compared to 2019.
The Democratic Unionist Party has become the second largest party in local government, gaining 122 seats.
Sinn Féin Vice-President and First Minister Designate in Norther Ireland Michelle O’Neill said this sends a message that Stormont Assembly should return.
“We will continue to do everything we can to have the Assembly back up and running,” she said. “And we have now elected a strong Sinn Féin team of councillors that are going to be part of a national team and are going to do their very, very best for their local communities.”
Ms O’Neill said there is “no reason” why the Assembly has not formed following elections in 2022 that saw Sinn Féin gain a majority.
Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said the party "scored some historic firsts" at this year's election.
DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson has rejected claims his party lost a share of its votes.
“We're winning seats in councils. We're winning seats in places we've never won seats before,” he said.
“The DUP has increased its share of the vote from last year, and we're on course to win a lot of seats across all the councils in Northern Ireland.”
The DUP gained 122 seats in both the 2019 and 2023 local elections, and reports suggest they saw a 0.8% decrease in first preference votes.
The Alliance Party has ousted the Ulster Unionist Party as the third largest party in local government, gaining 67 seats compared to the UUP’s 54.
Sinn Féin TD for Dublin Fingal Louise O’Reilly said the party is gaining momentum in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
“We were sensing a lot of positivity and momentum coming towards Sinn Féin,” she said. “The issue that was coming up was around the [Stormont] executive - people want to see the executive restored.”
“They want to make politics work for all they see that Michelle O’Neill as Minister Designate is out there trying to make that happen.
“It's very heartening to see that that we have been backed in in such large numbers.”