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European election candidates cast their votes in North

Voters are going to the polls in Northern Ireland to select three MEPs.

Polling stations opened at 7am to allow the 1,278,951 people eligible to vote to do so.

Eleven candidates are standing to serve in Brussels and Strasbourg.

Sitting MEP Diane Dodds, with husband Nigel Dodds, arrives at Bannside Presbyterian Church in Banbridge to cast her vote (Brian Lawless/PA)
Sitting MEP Diane Dodds, with husband Nigel Dodds, arrives at Bannside Presbyterian Church in Banbridge to cast her vote (Brian Lawless/PA)

Two of the incumbents, Sinn Féin’s Martina Anderson and Diane Dodds of the DUP, are standing for re-election.

Ulster Unionist veteran MEP Jim Nicholson is standing down.

His former seat is being hotly contested by his party colleague Danny Kennedy, SDLP leader Colum Eastwood and Alliance leader Naomi Long.

Most of the candidates cast their votes on Thursday morning.

Ms Anderson and Mr Eastwood both voted at the Model Primary School in Derry.

Mrs Dodds voted at Bannside Presbyterian Church Hall in Banbridge, Mr Kennedy voted at Bessbrook Primary School, and Mrs Long cast her ballot at St Colmcille’s Parish Centre in east Belfast.

TUV leader and candidate Jim Allister voted early at Kells Primary School in Co Antrim, and Green Party leader and candidate Clare Bailey will vote at Newtownbreda Baptist Church in south Belfast this afternoon.

The full list of candidates also includes Conservative Amandeep Bhogal, Robert Hill of Ukip, and independents Neil McCann and Jane Morrice.

The polls will close at 10pm but candidates face a long wait over the weekend to find out if they have been elected.

Voting in some of the 27 other EU countries will not end until 10pm on Sunday.

The counting of Northern Ireland’s votes using the proportional representation system will begin in Magherafelt at 8am on Monday.

- Press Association

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