Sinn Fein to run two candidates in Upper Bann as Catherine Seeley stands down
Sinn Fein are to run two candidates in the Upper Bann constituency after sitting MLA Catherine Seeley confirmed she would not be seeking re-election.
On Monday, and after Sinn Fein refused to re-nominate a deputy First Minister to trigger an election, Ms Seeley confirmed she would not be on the ballot paper.
She was elected late in the 2016 count and ahead of senior Sinn Fein politician John O'Dowd.
The former education minister, however, has batted away suggestions her standing aside was to give him an easier run in the next poll.
"We will be standing 2 candidates in Upper Bann to win 2 seats," he tweeted.
Most certainly not, we will be standing 2 candidates in Upper Bann to win 2 seats.— John O' Dowd (@JohnODowdSF) January 16, 2017
Announcing her decision to stand down Ms Seeley said she would be returning to teaching.
She said: "Serving the people of Upper Bann as a Sinn Fein MLA over recent months has been a huge honour and privilege.
"After much consideration, I have now decided that I will not be putting my name forward as a candidate in this election. An opportunity has arisen for me to return to teaching and I want to pursue it.
"It has not been an easy decision to make as I have a passion for politics and have enjoyed representing the community, firstly as a councillor and recently as an MLA.
"Sinn Fein has gone from strength to strength in Upper Bann and will have my full support in the upcoming Assembly election, during which I will be acting as an election agent to help maximise the Sinn Fein vote.
"I would like to thank the people of Upper Bann and Sinn Fein for the support they have shown me over the years.
"This will be a hugely important election and it is vital the people have their say and ensure that the political institutions are based on respect, equality and integrity."
Belfast Telegraph Digital