Green Party NI Deputy Leader Lesley Veronica has reacted to her party's performance at the local government election:

"The Green Party NI would like to thank our voters, volunteers and candidates in the local government election.

This was a difficult election for parties outside of the block of three biggest parties.

In Belfast, it's disappointing that our leader Mal O'Hara lost his seat in Castle, despite increasing his vote share from the 2019 election.

Mal has been a wonderful councillor and his powerful contribution to Belfast City Council has been rightly recognised in the past few days.

However, we are delighted to have three councillors returned to Belfast City Council in Cllr Aine Groogan, Cllr Brian Smyth and Cllr Anthony Flynn.

In Ards and North Down Cllr Rachel Woods was returned alongside Cllr Barry McKee.

Significantly, the Green Party secured its highest ever vote in Holywood.

We would also like to pay tribute to outgoing Councillor Stephen Dunlop. Stephen's public service will no doubt continue in a different guise through his involvement with local arts and culture.

Their work begins today on seeing through our local government manifesto commitments.

The climate emergency and cost of living crisis will be the defining issues of this mandate. Our Councillors will waste no time in continuing their work to deliver greener, cleaner, fairer communities for all."

Lesley Veronica - Green Party NI Deputy Leader.