Ireland has gone to the polls again – voting is underway in the EU Fiscal Treaty referendumGoogle Images

The Democratic Unionist Party formerly led by Ian Paisley and Sinn Fein appear to be the big winners in the Northern Ireland Assembly elections which have been marred by slow poll results.

The two parties in power appear to have consolidated their grip with their main rivals the Ulster Unionist Party and the SDLP party falling further behind.

The DUP total ensured they will elect Peter Robinson as the First Minister in Northern Ireland next week while Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness will be Deputy First Minister.

Robinson stated ““We didn't ask for a mandate from the people to enhance the standing of the Democratic Unionist Party, we asked for a mandate to keep Northern Ireland moving forward.

“Politics ebbs and flows and if you can't withstand that then you've picked the wrong career. I'm living in today and not looking over my shoulder to the past.

“It is very pleasing and rewarding to hear that right across the province our candidates are doing so well because they put a lot of work into it.”

The moderate Alliance party also did well but hardline Unionist Party the TUV looked like they would get a disappointing result.

The election marked the first time in  decades that the name Gerry Adams did not appear on a ballot paper in Northern Ireland.

“I spent the last few days in west Belfast and quite a number of people, particularly elderly people, told me that this was the first election that they had ever voted in that my name was not on the ballot card so that was a highly emotional moment,” he told the Belfast Telegraph.