Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Fearghal McKinney to fight for seat for SDLP

Former TV journalist Fearghal McKinney will fight for an SDLP seat in Westminster

Former TV journalist Fearghal McKinney pledged to defy the odds and win a Westminster seat for the SDLP as he was officially selected to stand for the party in Fermanagh and South Tyrone.

As was widely expected since he announced his intention to run earlier this month, the ex-Ulster Television political reporter's nomination was unopposed.

The 47-year-old, who was raised in Fermanagh, told party colleagues at the selection meeting in Irvinestown he was confident of overturning Sinn Fein's sizeable majority.

"This is a homecoming for me having been raised in Enniskillen. And make no mistake - I am coming home to win," he said.

"This will be a food-on-the-table election fought on the doorsteps on the issues that matter to us all. As a father of a young family I am well aware of the problems facing people across Fermanagh and South Tyrone."

Mr McKinney faces a colossal task to win the seat, with the SDLP having trailed in fourth in the 2005 poll.

The party's 7,230 tally was dwarfed by the 18,700 votes secured by sitting MP Michelle Gildernew.

Mr McKinney, who spent 25 years as a journalist, is the second high-profile media figure to enter the political fray since the new year, following his one-time UTV colleague Mike Nesbitt's decision to run for the Conservatives and Unionists in Strangford.

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