Former Lord Mayor Nichola Mallon to contest Assembly election in north Belfast for SDLP
SDLP councillor and former Lord Mayor Nichola Mallon has been selected to contest the Assembly election in north Belfast.
The Oldpark councillor was selected by SDLP party members at a convention in the Lansdowne Hotel this evening.
It comes after veteran SDLP politician Alban Maginness announced his retirement, saying he will not contest this year’s Assembly election.
Mrs Mallon said: "It is a great honour to be selected to defend this seat for the SDLP in the upcoming election and a privilege to take over from Alban Maginness.
"Alban has been a tireless servant for the people of north Belfast. His dedication to justice, human rights and the defence of civil liberties will mean his voice is sorely missed from politics here. We cannot thank him enough for everything he has accomplished.
“Jobs, housing, improved mental health and better community relations are among the key needs in North Belfast. People need a strong SDLP voice that always put people before politics.
“This is a very exciting time for the SDLP. Not only do we have a dynamic new leader in Colum Eastwood but we are seeing new faces at every level of the party.
"I am proud to be part of this new generation who will challenge the sectarianism and stagnation that has plagued politics for too long".
SDLP Party Leader Colum Eastwood said: “Nichola Mallon is at the forefront of a new generation of civic leaders in Belfast. Her dedication to and compassion for people in the city is clear to everyone who meets her and contributed to a powerful and uniquely successful year as Lord Mayor.
"I can’t think of a better successor to Alban Maginness in North Belfast and I’m delighted to have Nichola on our team heading into the Assembly elections.
Current SDLP MLA for North Belfast Alban Maginness said: “I welcome the selection of Nichola as a young and talented politician with great potential for the future.
"She has already distinguished herself as Lord Mayor of Belfast and as a hardworking Councillor for the Oldpark area. I know that she will be an outstanding MLA for North Belfast. I look forward to helping her in her campaign.”