Fearghal McKinney chosen by SDLP to replace Conall McDevitt as south Belfast MLA
The SDLP has chosen former UTV news reporter Fearghal McKinney to replace Conall McDevitt as MLA for South Belfast.
Over 250 delegates were present at a selection convention in the Wellington Park Hotel in south Belfast. Mr McKinney beat South Belfast SDLP councillor Claire Hanna by 113 votes to 69.
Speaking afterwards Fearghal McKinney said: "It is an honour to have been selected by the delegates in south Belfast to represent them and the whole constituency in the Northern Ireland Assembly.
“As I said this evening people are disillusioned with the stalemate at Stormont and deserve so much more. I bring SDLP values and a steadfast commitment to improve our political discourse and champion the hopes and ambitions of people across this region.”
Claire Hanna congratulated Fearghal McKinney saying: "I want to wish Fearghal every success in his new role. I will continue to work to support him and the party in every way I can. I would like to thank the delegates for their commitment to this process."
SDLP party leader Dr Alasdair McDonnell said: "I am delighted to have Fearghal join the team in south Belfast and in the Assembly.
"Over the past many years his commitment to the party has been impressive and I am confident that with the ability and dedication that Fearghal has displayed so far he will serve the people of south Belfast well into the future.”
Conall McDevitt resigned after it emerged he had failed to declare more than £6,000 earned from a public relations firm shortly after he became an MLA.